Very recently, i was given the great privilege in reviewing a book. This experience has been wonderful, i have really enjoyed getting to know the author through their words, get a glimpse of there relationship with the city, her people and how their story has added to the 2000 year history of the ‘Floating City’.
The Author of this book is Neal E. Robbins. Firstly a personal thank you to Neal. This book has been one of the most outstanding pieces on Venice and her current struggles, that I have ever read. You have beautifully balanced your personal history, the city’s history and detailed the various loses and campaigns that are currently being fought for on the Lagoon.
If you are after a book, that helps you to understand Venice and her society, to help to understand how Venice really is in the back streets, to get to know her more than just a ‘Hot Spot’ Tourist Trap, then this is a book that will deliver on that need.
Neal paints us a picture, of his early experiences, showcasing the old Venice, before it became just another stop off on a world cruise, before the echoes of suitcase wheels drowned out the shouts of market stall holders and music, before every other building was a hotel and big brand store, rather than small pockets of ancient communities. This was Special! a wonderful take on the city and her past. To see that transformation must have been astounding. This it talked about, the balance of tourism, an industry that the city arguably needs, but at the same time an industry that is killing the city, and endangers her loosing her character, culture and history. In these blogs posts, i merely like to tell the tales and facts on the cities past, i like to relay the reading i have done, to help celebrate the wonderful people, places and legacies that have graced the city streets. The author has had a much deeper connection, one that i wish to have one day. He allows us to come along with him, exhibiting the museum of his own tale. Not only that, But the people he has interviewed, some of the most knowledgeable and passionate people on the subject of the city, from these well recoded interviews and interactions, we get a glimpse into worlds we might not have necessarily have seen or read before. We gather a better picture of the puzzle, allowing for more clarity, on Venice’s greater complexities. Venice is certainly unique, the author captures that in a new light.
This is what i feel the Author is doing, through his well balanced chapters, is a mixture of personal thought, historical fact and most importantly i find, the relaying of the true venetian story. Telling us the tales and struggles of the real people of the city, he almost wants this book to be a vessel of their message, of how these people are holding out in spit of the cruise liners, holiday agents and large global firms determined to cash in on Venice’s beauty. What is history, if not the stories that we pass on, the tales on which we wish to tell, the skills and lessons we wish to impart of the coming generations. This is what Neal has wonderfully done with this book. He has helped to give a voice to those who might need one and a speaker to those who might listen.
So if you are after a book on Venice, that covers her days involving giants of the past such as Galileo Galilei and the political leadership of the Doge, as well as personal accounts, along with passionate arguments of the protection of this cities buildings and communities, please grab this book, sit down with a nice coffee and Baicoli and set yourself up for a wonderful read that will help you immerse yourself into a true Venice of the 21st century.