- Publisher: WW Norton & Co
- Format: Paperback | 288 pages
- Dimensions: 135mm x 198mm x 20mm | 227g
- Publication date: 2 June 2006
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0393328457
- ISBN 13: 9780393328455
- Sales rank: 545,140
Before they achieved renown as patrons of the arts and de facto rulers of Florence, the Medici family earned their fortune in banking. But even at the height of the Renaissance, charging interest of any kind meant running afoul of the Catholic Church's ban on usury. Tim Parks reveals how the legendary Medicis-Cosimo and Lorenzo "the Magnificent" in particular-used the diplomatic, military, and even metaphysical tools at hand, along with a healthy dose of intrigue and wit, to further their fortunes as well as their family's standing.
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Tim Parks was born in Manchester, England, in 1954, grew up in London, and has lived in Italy since 1981. His novels include Europa, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and he is the author of several nonfiction accounts of life in Italy, including Italian Neighbors and An Italian Education. During his years in Italy, Parks has translated works by Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso, Alberto Moravia, and Machiavelli. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, for which he blogs.
"A model for all economic historians... Parks, who is skeptical about bankers, writes about them with pace, wit, and some passion." "Marvelously entertaining... Parks displays a keen observance of people's complexities and malleable motives in this account of the fabled Medici dynasty." -- Gilbert Taylor "Fascinating ... elegantly told."