Books: Mother in Politics

CATHERINE DE' MEDICI—Ralph Roeder —Viking ($3.75).

The career of Catherine de' Medici, one of the biggest career women of the Reformation, was a long time starting, came as near as nothing to never starting at all.

Orphaned within a month of her birth (1519), she was such a sickly infant that her Great-Uncle Giovanni (Pope Leo X) was doubly disgusted with her. What was needed at that point in the Medici fortunes was a healthy boy. Having at last attained the Papacy, the Medici clan were in imminent danger of petering out. But...

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