Catherine de Medici: A Biography PDF Ç Catherine de

12 thoughts on “Catherine de Medici: A Biography

  1. Linda Peace Linda Peace says:

    This is a learned and hefty tome which most members of my book group it was my choice either didn t attempt or only read part of it before giving up I got to the end and enjoyed it in many ways The most notable finding for me was that Catherine de Medici was not Lucrezia Borgia My brain getting at cross purposes again The worst thing about it is the huge numbers of dramatis personae really difficult to keep tabs on I will read it again and see if I can get a better handle on the people however it is a hard hitting account not only of the politics of the time, but also of the horrible health issues that marred Catherine s family and which must have held for virtually all the population of Europe at the time Interesting.

  2. sally tarbox sally tarbox says:

    Brilliantly researched yet always readable biography, Frieda takes us from Catherine s inauspicious start as orphan of Florence to a marriage where she always played second fiddle to her husband s mistress, Diane de Poitiers.The story really takes off after Catherine becomes a widow comparatively early With the heir still a child, Catherine assumes regencyand from then on her life seems to be composed largely of coping with the endless and complex discord of 16th century Europe Wars between principalities the lead up to and horrible consequences of the Wars of Religion efforts to keep the papacy on side dynastic marriages political factions and towards the end her sons an unpromising lot plotting against each other Frieda s skill here lies in keeping it all relatively comprehensible and readable.I was left feeling that Catherine was a most pragmatic and unsentimental woman notably when she sent her daughter Margot to her marital chamber as the St Bartholomew s Day Massacre was beginning My mother replied that, God willing, I would come to no harm, but in any case I must go for fear of wakening their suspicions and yet in her impossible situation could she have done much better Very interesting read

  3. Jean D. Andrews Jean D. Andrews says:

    This book kept me busy for quite a long time It is very very interesting, but it takes some time to work out who exactly her ten children were. 3 evidently survived either not at all or for a very short time The sixteenth century was just as turbulent in France as it was in England possibly so and the same problems of Protestant versus Catholic existed there, though I am not sure that England suffered anything as violent as the massacre of St Bartholomew Well worth reading if you have been enthralled by the Tudors, because this book will give you insight into the general European scene.

  4. Jane K Jane K says:

    The book started extremely well and I throughly enjoyed much of it particularly about Catherine s personal life.The endless politics of her latter years given in some detail did become a little stodgy but on the whole I would recommend this book.

  5. M. Baerends M. Baerends says:

    What a superb witty book This is history how it should be written Nothing but praise for this absolute pageturner Here is a book that educates the reader on an interesting period in French history, from the good times of her father in law Francis I to the bloody mess that followed the accidental death of her husband Henry II who was pierced through the head with a lance during a tournament , and over which she and various of her disfunctional children presided Striking exactly the right balance between good narrative and real history, with the right amount of understanding for the main character but without being overly apologetic, I cannot commend this book highly enough.

  6. Ms. C. Wetwood Ms. C. Wetwood says:

    An extremely readable and enjoyable biography A very plausible picture is given of a woman of great strength who endured many difficulties, such as her husband having a permanent and much loved mistress and also the problem of always being a non royal foreigner in France There was the early death of her husband and her role as regent for sons of very dubious character quality This is all related sympathetically There may be some things we will never know about her, but this book certainly gives a very lively account There are occasional instances of clumsiness in English usage.


    This is very well researched and written, you get a full view of this Queen, you get a full sense of what drove her, and how it went so wrong for her, she has been blamed for a lot of things that went wrong in France during her life, things over which she had no control, and trying to hold her young family together after the early death of her husband, it went wrong, but she did her best and you can find no fault in her for that.

  8. Johanne Powell Johanne Powell says:

    I must say that I read the book and sort of enjoyed it, but like some of the other reviewers I found the book too apologetic to Catherine de Medici s faults and mistake Even by Friedas own descriptions she was NOT a very loving mother, quite the opposite regarding her daughter Margot She seemed to me to be much engaged in keeping her own power by any means, demanding back the crown jewels from her son Francis s widow the day after his death She treated her daughter margot attrociously, trying to marry her off to the Spanish crown prince Don Carlos, he was severly brain damaged since tumbling head firstdown a stone staircase in pursuit of a servant girl he particularly enjoyed flagellating She was vindictive and haughty, and I must confess, I could not see much sign of the devoted mother tries to convince us she really was I also found that the book concentrated a little too much on the political side of events I m as fond of gossip as the next person, and would have liked to get to know Catherine a bit in her perivate life Frieda hints at incest between several of her children, and aslo mentions her attraction to superstitions, but does not expand on it All in all okay, but not great.

  9. Andreas Oberender Andreas Oberender says:

    Leonie Friedas Biographie der Katharina von Medici 1519 1589 ist ein popul rwissenschaftliches Buch, und das im guten wie im schlechten Sinne Das Buch war das Erstlingswerk der in Schweden geborenen, in Gro britannien lebenden Autorin In sprachlicher und erz hlerischer Hinsicht ist die Biographie gelungen Sie ist gut lesbar, anschaulich, kurzweilig Friedas gro e St rke ist das Schildern von Situationen und personalen Beziehungen Die Autorin versteht es, historische Figuren zum Leben zu erwecken Damit ist aber auch schon alles Positive ber das Buch gesagt Dem Kenner der Materie bietet die Biographie nichts Neues und berraschendes Es mangelt dem Buch durchweg an Originalit t Frieda geht nicht ber das hinaus, was man schon in lteren popul rwissenschaftlichen Biographien Katharinas von Medici lesen konnte Genannt seien nur die Werke der Amerikanerin Irene Mahoney 1976 und des Franzosen Jean Orieux 1986 , die auch auf Deutsch vorliegen Bezeichnenderweise macht Frieda im Vorwort keine Angaben, warum sie das Buch eigentlich geschrieben hat Frieda hat sich ihre Arbeit sehr leicht gemacht Sie hat im Wesentlichen drei B cher ausgeschlachtet, die Biographien von Ivan Cloulas 1979 und Robert Knecht 1998 und ein Werk des amerikanischen Historikers Ralph Roeder aus den 1930er Jahren Auf diese drei B cher entfallen mehr als 50 Prozent der 445 Endnoten in Friedas Buch.Frieda hat die M he gescheut, die zehnb ndige Edition der Briefe Katharinas von Medici durchzuarbeiten Das ist zweifellos eine anstrengende und zeitraubende Aufgabe, doch kann man eine Biographie der K niginmutter und Regentin schreiben, ohne diese wichtigen Selbstzeugnisse auszuwerten Wenn Frieda aus Katharinas Briefen zitiert, dann handelt es sich ausnahmslos um Zitate, die sie aus den B chern von Cloulas, Knecht und Roeder bernommen und in ihren eigenen Text hineinmontiert hat Bei vielen Zitaten fehlen Quellennachweise ganz, selbst bei umfangreichen Blockzitaten siehe z.B S 146, 291, 329 Mehrfach zitiert Frieda aus den Memoiren von Katharinas Tochter Margarete von Valois Nachweise fehlen, und da die Memoiren auch in der Bibliographie nicht auftauchen, ist unklar, welche der vielen Ausgaben Frieda herangezogen hat Etliche Quellen benutzt Frieda unkritisch und sorglos, etwa einige Berichte ber den Verlauf der Bartholom usnacht, die seit jeher als hochproblematisch gelten Alle diese M ngel disqualifizieren Frieda als ernst zu nehmende Autorin rgerlich ist nicht zuletzt der Umstand, dass die drei Stammtafeln am Anfang des Buches eine erschreckende Vielzahl von Fehlern aufweisen Der Verlag Weidenfeld Nicolson, bei dem das Buch 2003 zuerst erschienen ist, ist eigentlich bekannt f r seine inhaltlich und formal vorz glichen Biographien und historischen Sachb cher man denke nur an die B cher von Antonia Fraser Leonie Friedas Buch ist hingegen kein Ruhmesblatt f r den Verlag.

  10. baga baga says:

    Normally I do not feel inclined to write commentaries about books, but this shall be an exception utter delight at reading this new biography, quite short, but interesting with lots of details about Catherine de Medici s time and her contemporaries although some wrong characteristics of Catherine due to Protestant propaganda are still mentioned, wrong if you can believe the French Wikipedia article on the subject Even the kindle version is illustrated In short If you want to read a fascinating book about an outstanding woman and her time this is a must

  11. Boyd Hone Boyd Hone says:

    Leonie Frieda s CATHERINE DE MEDICI is surprising because before the St Bartholomew s Day massacre of the huguenots, nothing happens Catherine is an ideal wife who bears ten children that she loves deeply and assiduously cares for No tantrums she doesn t poison anyone no plots and counter plots assassinations are taboo When the king her hubby is away Catherine cares for the kingdom as well as she does her family She s even agreeable to hubby s mistresses, headed by Diane de Poitier In fact, claims the author, all she desired, throughout all her life, was peace and prosperity for France After hubby dies, she is loyal to the new king, her son, guiding him as she carefully guides France, protecting both king and country from dangers And especially she tries, by every means, to avoid conflict between catholics and protestants I purposely do not capitalize either sect because I believe that religion, like other superstitions and forms of ignorance, have done harm than good to the world as a whole Rumors circulating among both huguenots and catholics that massacres were being planned on both sides convinced Catherine s son, King Charles who was touring France at the moment in the company of Catherine to flee to the safety of Paris Once there, he vowed that no one ever again would put his security and that of his cherished mother in peril From here on the book becomes extremely exciting Although the king knows nothing, Catherine decides that the head of the huguenots, a friend of the king s, must be assassinated One must never forget that she is convinced that if the huguenots who number in the thousands survive, she, the king and the kingdom will be destroyed The man is only wounded but the king goes to his bedside and promises, before God, that his friend will be avenged Catherine goes to his bedside too, and, out Machiavelli ing Machiavelli, swears the same I ll let you discover the rest Too bad there isn t a Robert Graves who could write an I, CLAUDIUS on the Borgia and or the Medici, in about 10 volumes each.My own books devoid of religious nonsense can be found on under Michael Hone.

  12. Customer Customer says:

    It reads as a compelling novel and provides the information of a detailed and objective researched thesis I m a big fan of history, but it is difficult to find trustworthy, objective and well researched sources other then Umberto Eco s works This book succeeds in providing excellent explanation of the complexity of the wars of religion in France and weaves it with the fascinating life of a foreign woman trying to survive politically in near impossible chaotic situation in France It is easy to read but of course, the complexity of France during that time was difficult to comprehend then all the factions and families of Games of Thrones, together.When I finished reading, I started immediately again, it was that good.

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Catherine de Medici: A Biography The bestselling revisionist biography of one of the great women of the th centuryOrphaned in infancy, Catherine de Medici was the sole legitimate heiress to the Medici family fortune Married at fourteen to the future Henri II of France, she was constantly humiliated by his influential mistress Diane de Poitiers When her husband died as a result of a duelling accident in Paris, Catherine was made queen regent during the short reign of her eldest son married to Mary Queen of Scots and like many of her children he died young When her second son became king she was the power behind the throne She nursed dynastic ambitions, but was continually drawn into political and religious intrigues between Catholics and Protestants that plagued France for much of the later part of her life It had always been said that she was implicated in the notorious Saint Bartholomew s Day Massacre, together with the king and her third son who succeeded to the throne in , but was murdered Her political influence waned, but she survived long enough to ensure the succession of her son in law who had married her daughter Margaret