The Borgias by G.J. Meyer
The Hidden History

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The startling truth behind one of the most notorious dynasties in history is revealed in a remarkable new account by the acclaimed author of The Tudors and A World Undone. Sweeping aside the gossip, slander, and distortion that have shrouded the Borgias for centuries, G. J. Meyer offers an unprecedented portrait of the infamous Renaissance family and their storied milieu.
They burst out of obscurity in Spain not only to capture the great prize of the papacy, but to do so twice. Throughout a tumultuous half-century—as popes, statesmen, warriors, lovers, and breathtakingly ambitious political adventurers—they held center stage in the glorious and blood-drenched pageant known to us as the Italian Renaissance, standing at the epicenter of the power games in which Europe’s kings and Italy’s warlords gambled for life-and-death stakes.
Five centuries after their fall—a fall even more sudden than their rise to the heights of power—they remain immutable symbols of the depths to which humanity can descend: Rodrigo Borgia, who bought the papal crown and prostituted the Roman Church; Cesare Borgia, who became first a teenage cardinal and then the most treacherous cutthroat of a violent time; Lucrezia Borgia, who was as shockingly immoral as she was beautiful. These have long been stock figures in the dark chronicle of European villainy, their name synonymous with unspeakable evil.
But did these Borgias of legend actually exist? Grounding his narrative in exhaustive research and drawing from rarely examined key sources, Meyer brings fascinating new insight to the real people within the age-encrusted myth. Equally illuminating is the light he shines on the brilliant circles in which the Borgias moved and the thrilling era they helped to shape, a time of wars and political convulsions that reverberate to the present day, when Western civilization simultaneously wallowed in appalling brutality and soared to extraordinary heights.
Stunning in scope, rich in telling detail, G. J. Meyer’s The Borgias is an indelible work sure to become the new standard on a family and a world that continue to enthrall.

Praise for The Borgias
“A vivid and at times startling reappraisal of one of the most notorious dynasties in history . . . If you thought you knew the Borgias, this book will surprise you.”—Tracy Borman, author of Queen of the Conqueror and Elizabeth’s Women
“The mention of the Borgia family often conjures up images of a ruthless drive for power via assassination, serpentine plots, and sexual debauchery. . . . [G. J. Meyer] convincingly looks past the mythology to present a more nuanced portrait.”—Booklist
“Meyer brings his considerable skills to another infamous Renaissance family, the Borgias [and] a fresh look into the machinations of power in Renaissance Italy. . . . [He] makes a convincing case that the Borgias have been given a raw deal.”—Historical Novels Review
“Fascinating . . . a gripping history of a tempestuous time and an infamous family.”—Shelf Awareness

From the Hardcover edition.

About G.J. Meyer

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G. J. MEYER is the author of The Tudors and A World Undone, as well as The Memphis Murders (recipient of an Edgar Award for Nonfiction) and Executive Blues. He has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Harper's, and many other newspapers and magazines, and was awarded a Nieman Fellowship by Harvard University. Meyer lives in England.

Author Residence: Wiltshire, England

Author Hometown: Indianapolis, IN
Published April 2, 2013 by Bantam. 512 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Borgias

Publishers Weekly

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To his credit, Meyer (The Tudors) is forthright about how this supposed “hidden history” of the Italian Renaissance’s most controversial family came to be: it is the product of “[a] year of research o

Feb 18 2013 | Read Full Review of The Borgias: The Hidden History

Open Letters Monthly

Meyer has written a book that will change the way you think about the Borgias (Showtime or no Showtime), and more importantly, he’s written a book that will change the way you think about history-writing itself.

| Read Full Review of The Borgias: The Hidden History

Meyer (The Tudors) here turns his attention to the notorious Renaissance family. He claims that the villainous reputation of the Borgias has little basis in fact and sprang from contemporary and later stories intended to sully the name of a powerful clan. Rising from the Spanish nobility, the Bor...

May 24 2013 | Read Full Review of The Borgias: The Hidden History

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