• The Borgias and Their Enemies

  • 1431-1519
  • By: Christopher Hibbert
  • Narrated by: John Telfer
  • Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (433 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The name Borgia is synonymous with the corruption, nepotism, and greed that were rife in Renaissance Italy. The powerful, voracious Rodrigo Borgia, better known to history as Pope Alexander VI, was the central figure of the dynasty. Two of his seven papal offspring also rose to power and fame - his daughter Lucrezia and her brother Cesare, who murdered Lucrezia's husband and served as the model for Machiavelli's The Prince.

The Borgias were notorious for seizing power, wealth, land, and titles through bribery, marriage, and murder. The story of the family's dramatic rise from its Spanish roots to the highest position in Italian society is an absorbing tale.

©2009 Christopher Hibbert (P)2012 AudioGO

What listeners say about The Borgias and Their Enemies

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Covers the bases, but falls a little flat.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

After watching the Showtime series, I wanted a little real history on the Borgia family and this did provide it. In fact, I was surprised at the liberties taken by the TV series after listening to this historical account. I am glad I took the time to research their recorded history a little.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

The actual substance is a little dry, which is amazing considering the subject matter. This is a traditional "this happened and then this happened and then this" type of narrative, amounting to a compilation of information from various sources without any gloss. I guess that is a good counterpoint to the TV series, which went too far in the other direction and changed a lot of the history behind this colorful family. I don't know that I would change that about this book, its just different from other representations I have encountered.

Was The Borgias and Their Enemies worth the listening time?

I would say that this audiobook is worth the listening time.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Historical Depravity Can Be Fun

When you know that Cesare Borgia is the model upon whom Niccolo Machiavelli based his work "The Prince," this gives an instant expectation to the sordid tale within. This story has nearly every level of scandal imaginable and is anything but boring as a result. The thing is, Renaissance Italian politics can be confusing at best for the newcomer. Christopher Hibbert to the rescue. The narrative here begins well before Rodrigo Borgia becomes Pope, and it unfolds simply and directly, with enough detail to captivate without bogging the reader down. But just because it's concise, don't believe that it doesn't pack a punch. It's the kind of entry level history that paints a vivid enough picture to grasp everything, but it also leaves the reader interested enough to perhaps want to dig even deeper. I know I did.

John Telfer's narration is more than adequate to the task at hand, since he doesn't have to change his voice or anything of that sort. Nor does he read this in a monotone. It's easy to tell he had as much fun reading the tale as I did listening to it.

11 people found this helpful

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No starting point

I guess you need a history lesson before you start. I was unable to get a start date to the action and then the book started skipping around in history. Perhaps this one is better in print so you can have a timeline. I was lost in the first chapter. Maybe the second listen will be easier. My advice is to know your history before you listen.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Borgias - Very interesting

Where does The Borgias and Their Enemies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favorites.

What did you like best about this story?

All the sordid details of Alexander VI, Cesere and Lucretcia lives.

Which scene was your favorite?

When they talked about Alexander's enthusiasm towards loose women. He acted very un-popelike.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was moved when Lucreztia left her father for the last time. I felt sad for them both.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Solid Historical Perspective

Where does The Borgias and Their Enemies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was a well-researched and interesting portrayal of a fascinating family in Renaissance Italy.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Borgias and Their Enemies?

I enjoyed the insight into the inner workings of the Holy See during the Renaissance.

Have you listened to any of John Telfer’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. Interesting listen.

Any additional comments?

I have read other books by Hibbert and this was among the best efforts.

5 people found this helpful

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really interesting

Where does The Borgias and Their Enemies rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is a really well organised history. There is some confusion with names (as is to be expected in history books around this era; titles attached to multiple people over time) but overall a really interesting read and well worth your time.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Too dry, and a waste of time

It was just a long list of names, dates and actions: "this happened, then this happened, then this happened." No analysis, context or conclusions. It was like the worst college lecture you ever attended.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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reads like a fairy tale, I loved it

it wasn't full of only tiresome references and cold facts, it was like a story. easy to follow and the author included, i think, some different info. that usually isn't included i books on this subject. I think someone who isn't that knowledgeable of this subject to easily and enjoyably follow. without much confusion. it was profrecitly performed. a book that keeps you interested. I enjoyed it

2 people found this helpful

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Narration is patched really badly

The story is good and the narrator’s voice is good, but every few minutes there’s a change in voice, or it sounds like he’s in a tunnel. The splicing is not well done and takes away from the fluidity of the narration, which causes me to grind my teeth in irritation.

2 people found this helpful

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Concise and Well Conceived

A very well rendered account of one of history's most influential families, this book boils down the highlights of the Borgias reign into an enjoyable and accessible narrative.