What Karl's reading

After three years preparing The Triumph of William McKinley by reading very little but books, letters, articles and newspapers from the Gilded Age, I’m trying to get back into my regular routine, which I’ll chronicle here with an occasional review of what I’ve read.

Into every string of serious books a little, well, a little low brow must fall. I admit I’m a sucker for all things Cussler...

At the end of last year, I found myself in Florence. There on the River Arno, on a little square and flanked by the St. Regis and Excelsior hotels, was an exquisite chapel long founded by a wealthy member of the Vespucci family.

This is a remarkable book. It goes behind the scenes to explore why James Stuart, upon rising to the British throne upon the death of Queen Elizabeth, made it a priority to prepare a new version of the Bible, one grounded in the earliest sources scholars could find but expressed in the richest and most passionate words possible.

Unger, a New York Times writer, has produced a thoughtful and well-informed study of the life of the Florentine diplomat and government bureaucrat better known for his slim book, The Prince, than for his diplomatic efforts for his beloved city-state, fading in power and influence.

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