In the tradition of the New York Times bestselling Longitude comes a popular history that reveals the little known story of what happened when two of the world's most brilliant minds met. Italy, the year 1502. Leonardo da Vinci, engineer and possible spy in the court of Cesare Borgia, crosses paths with Niccol Machiavelli, at that time Florentine ambassador.
The two men formed a friendship, and joined together in an attempt to carry out one of Leonardo's most fantastic dreams: to build a system of canals that would make the Arno river navigable from Florence to the sea. While the primary reason for the project was military, da Vinci and Machiavelli also had commerce in mind. They envisioned a day when explorers would be able to sail from the city center to the sea and back, bringing riches from the New World for the greater glory of Florence.
In Fortune Is a River Roger Masters provides concise and insightful biographies of two of history's greatest geniuses, an interpretation of their roles in history, and a window into their culture. It is a first-rate popular history and a fascinating introduction to the wonders of the Italian Renaissance.
"Historically electrifying...Fascinating... A very interesting book" --The New York Times
"A discovery...Mr. Masters skillfully navigates the intricacies of Renaissance politics, capturing the turbulence and intrigue of the age...and indulges our imaginations in the bargain." --The Wall Street Journal
"A remarkable window on the birth of the modern age...meticulous...surprising." --Publishers Weekly
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History is sometimes made by seemingly insignificant moments that turn out to have been pivotal in hindsight--and sometimes what didn't happen proves to be as important as what did. One such moment came in the Florentine court of Cesare Borgia, when a civil servant named Niccolò Machiavelli recruited a local engineer named Leonardo da Vinci to devise a plan to change the course of the Arno River. Diverting that river, Machiavelli reasoned, would deprive Florence's enemy, the nearby city-state of Pisa, of a dependable water supply. It would also make the Arno River navigable for oceangoing vessels from the inland city of Florence, and as an added incentive, would help limit damage caused by the flood-prone Arno to the surrounding farmlands.
Machiavelli and da Vinci devised a hydrological plan for the river that was extraordinarily promising, at least on paper. The flood-prone Arno, however, made the task an impossible challenge. The pair's chances of success were further reduced by poor design, bad timing, and undisciplined workers. Their failure brought official disfavor on Machiavelli and da Vinci alike. Leonardo transferred his studio to Milan and then Rome, where he would produce remarkable work, while Machiavelli retreated from public life for a time and used his forced leisure to write The Prince. Roger Masters crafts an epic tale out of a historical footnote. Although some of his conclusions are speculative in regards to Niccolò's and Leonardo's relationship, readers will likely find his narrative persuasive and deeply informed.About the Author:
Roger D. Masters is the Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth College. The author of academic works on Machiavelli and Rousseau, as well as studies linking modern biology with political behavior, Fortune Is a River is Professor Masters' first book for a popular audience.
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Descrizione libro Penguin Books. Condizione libro: New. pp. 288. Codice libro della libreria 5767350
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