In this effervescent and richly praised biography, Frieda reclaims the story of Catherine de Medici to reveal a skilled ruler battling against extraordinary odds. Three 8-page color inserts.In this effervescent and richly praised biography, Frieda reclaims the story of Catherine de Medici to reveal a skilled ruler battling against extraordinary odds. Three 8-page color inserts.Read Less
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This is a good book in getting to know the De Medici family and how it influenced France and the rest of the world at that time.
Apr 26, 2012
Catherine de Medici was neither a great queen nor a good woman. The best thing you can say about her is that she loved her children (maybe too much) who were, to be sure, a worthless bunch (Queen Margot excepting). Leonie Frieda tries her best to make Queen Catherine look good, without much success.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-12-13 In 1533, 14-year-old Catherine de Medici arrived in France to marry the future king Henri II; over the next 16 years, she endured the dominance of Henri's mistress, Diane de Poitiers, and the disdain of courtiers for her family's merchant background. The sudden death of Henri launched Catherine into three decades as regent and chief adviser to three sons who ruled in succession. Frieda navigates the twists and turns of the French royal court and family with particular attention to the formation of Catherine's political skills. From her lonely childhood as a tool in the diplomacy of her powerful uncles to her carefully cultivated relationship with her father-in-law and maneuvering through shifting family alliances, the queen learned self-possession, deception and strategy. While Catherine has been maligned for her role in France's wars of religion and in particular the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, Frieda argues that Catherine attempted to reach compromise in the religious strife of her adopted country. While trying to flesh out Catherine, Frieda occasionally paints others with a too-broad brush. At times, her descriptions of Catherine's actions as emotionally or politically motivated seem arbitrary. But Frieda's portrait of Catherine is multifaceted, and her presentation of the complicated narrative of five tumultuous reigns is compelling. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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