Florence, Italian Firenze, is the capital of Firenze provincia (province) and Toscana (Tuscany) regione (region), central Italy. The city, located about 145 miles (230 km) northwest of Rome, is surrounded by gently rolling hills that are covered with villas and farms, vineyards, and orchards. Florence was founded as a Roman military colony about the 1st century BCE, and during its long history it has been a republic, a seat of the duchy of Tuscany, and a capital (1865–70) of Italy. During the 14th–16th century Florence achieved preeminence in commerce and finance, learning, and especially the arts.
The present glory of Florence is mainly its past. Indeed, its historic centre was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1982. The buildings there are works of art abounding in yet more works of art, and the splendours of the city are stamped with the personalities of the individuals who made them. The geniuses of Florence were backed by persons of towering wealth, and the city to this day gives testimony to their passions for religion, for art, for power, or for money. Among the most famous of the city’s cultural giants are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Machiavelli, Galileo, and its most-renowned rulers, generations of the Medici family.
Abominations: Selected Essays From a Career of Courting Self-Destruction
By Lionel Shriver | Harper
With a restless imagination and an instinct to take on progressive orthodoxies, the novelist and essayist Lionel Shriver brings her “smart, plain-spoken and unpredictable” style to subjects that many writers prefer to shy away from. Review by Meghan Cox Gurdon.
In a trilogy of narratives that “broke the mold” in Civil War history, Bruce Catton told the story of the Eastern theater with an eye to the sacrifices and sufferings of the ordinary soldiers who fought and died on both sides. Review by Harold Holzer.
The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World
By Jonathan Freedland | Harper
Walter Rosenberg did not make it easy for the Nazi-allied regime in his native Slovakia to deport him—along with thousands of other Slovak Jews—to extermination camps like Auschwitz. But once he wound up there, he was determined to get out and spread the word of the ongoing genocide. Review by Diane Cole.
A long-awaited, posthumously published memoir from the star of “Cool Hand Luke,” “The Verdict” and other classics reveals the inner world of a hard-working actor who “breathed in insecurity and exhaled doubt.” Review by Michael O’Donnell.
What was for many years the center of the American sports calendar has lost some of its grip on the collective imagination. But a journey through October Classics past proves that the magic of the World Series still has a potent charm. Review by David M. Shribman.
The pioneering figure of modern dance was a daring innovator, a technical perfectionist and a preternaturally gifted performer. While she transformed the way a generation of dancers thought about movement, she looked for ways to claim her art firmly as an American one. Review by Hamilton Cain.
The Oldest Cure in the World: Adventures in the Art and Science of Fasting
By Steve Hendricks | Abrams Press
Fasting has a long history of use as a spiritual aid—a ritual of purification and turning away from indulgence—and as a tool for protest. But emerging science suggests that its positive effects on physical health can no longer be overlooked. Review by Matthew Rees.
Ray Bradbury’s unique science fiction owed more to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s darkly symbolic stories than to H.G. Wells’s rationalist visions. On a Mars that held curious correspondences to the Midwestern country of Bradbury’s youth, fathers and sons negotiated the strange spaces between them. Review by Brad Leithauser.
The “stage manager” of the American Revolution has resisted attempts by historians to pin down the details of his life. Stacy Schiff finds a potential key to Samuel Adams’s enigmatic character in the financial tumult of his family’s business. Review by Mark G. Spencer.
The Sassoons: The Great Global Merchants and the Making of Empire
By Joseph Sassoon | Pantheon
The business empire of the Sassoon dynasty began in Bombay, where the family of Iraqi Jews had fled to escape persecution, and flourished in the opium trade with China. The “Rothschilds of Asia” kept a low profile—and when the tides of fortune turned against them, their once-global enterprise became a distant memory. Review by Norman Lebrecht.
A selection of three essential articles read aloud from the latest issue of The Economist. This week, Rishi Sunak’s promise of stability is a low bar for Britain, (10:35) the risks of Bidenomics and (18:20) will Iran’s women win?
PBS NewsHour – New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post associate editor Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including the final days of the midterm campaign and the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.