The Professor of Secrets
Mystery, Medicine, and Alchemy in Renaissance Italy
By William Eamon
(National Geographic, Hardcover, 9781426206504, 368pp.)
Publication Date: July 20, 2010
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In the tradition of Galileo's Daughter and Brunelleschi's Dome, this exciting story illuminates the captivating world of the late Renaissance—in this case its plagues, remedies, and alchemy—through the life of Leonardo Fioravanti, a brilliant, remarkably forward-thinking, and utterly unconventional doctor. Fioravanti's marvelous cures and talent for self-aggrandizement earned him the adoration of the people, the scorn of the medical establishment, and a reputation as one of the age's most colorful, combative figures. Written by Pulitzer-prize nominated historian William Eamon, The Professor of Secrets entices readers into a dangerous scientific underworld of sorcerers and surgeons. Meticulously researched and engagingly written, this gripping narrative will appeal to those interested in Renaissance history, the development of science, and the historical thrillers so popular today.
William Eamon is a widely published, internationally known and respected scholar based at New Mexico State University. His first book, Science and the Secrets of Nature: Books of Secrets in the Medieval and Early Modern Culture was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in history and won the History Book Award from the Association of American Publishers. He is co-editor of the excellently reviewed Beyond the Black Legend: Spain and the Scientific Revolution.
“The author presents what medicine was like during the Renaissance with a wealth of unexpected details…and a light, accessible touch…that makes this book welcome reading not only for the summer but for any time of year.” —Los Angeles Times
“In this entertaining biography of Neapolitan physician and self-promoter Leonardo Fioravanti, Eamon gives a portrait of sixteenth century Italy that is far more realistic than that of those who follow the myth of the Renaissance.” –Book News