CELEBRATED WRITER: Ross King is the rare combination of rigorous researcher and fascinating storyteller. His books are consistently acclaimed and frequently nominated for Canada’s top prizes. Most recently, Mad Enchantment won the RBC Taylor Prize, was shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize and was longlisted for BC’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
FRESH TAKE: In this book, Ross will do more of what he does best—take a beloved historical subject of wide interest (in this case, Renaissance Florence) and tackle it in an entirely new way. This book will be the definitive tome on one of the Renaissance’s most influential figures and on one of the world’s most disruptive and transformative periods.
BRINGING HISTORY TO LIFE: King puts human faces to the advent of print and explores how it shook up Europe’s artistic elite. He also speaks to the topical theme of technology as a disrupter, in our industry and beyond.
BOOKISH APPEAL: This subject is also sure to appeal to booksellers and book lovers in addition to King’s regular readers.
“Throughout, King deftly navigates Florence’s rich cultural and political history, painting intimate portraits of Vespasiano and others involved in the book world during these incredible times, including the man who would revolutionize it all, Johannes Gutenberg…. A treat for book lovers.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Magnificent…. King’s meticulous research provides an immersive reading experience as he expertly weaves the political intrigue of families vying for power and currying favor with the pope into a riveting intellectual history covering the evolution of books, Renaissance Italy, classical philosophy and literature, and the invention of the printing press. A profoundly engaging study of a time when books were considered essential to a meaningful life, and knowledge and wisdom were cherished as ends in themselves.” —Booklist
“A richly detailed portrait of 15th-century Florence and the important role booksellers played in disseminating ancient Greek and Latin texts that were vital to the Renaissance…. This expert account shines a new light on the Renaissance.” —Publishers Weekly
“In this fascinating biography, Canadian author King weaves Vespasiano’s story into the fabric of the tumultuous times in which he lived. Although the details about the history and mechanics of early Renaissance book production, such as ink manufacture and distribution supply chains, might be tedious in another work, here they add to the depth and enjoyment of the story. The result is a narrative about a man and his books, and so much more, including the origins and history of the Frankfurt Book Fair and the influence of Johannes Gutenberg and his printing press on the arc of history…. Standout narrative nonfiction that will engage bibliophiles and readers who enjoy historical nonfiction.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“The scope of King’s knowledge is staggering and his book bulges with facts…. Remarkable as these feats of factual exposition are, King’s supreme ability is to imagine himself into the past…Spectacular.” —The Times (UK)
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