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Éminence: Cardinal Richelieu and the…
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Éminence: Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France

by Jean-Vincent Blanchard

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An impressive history of an interesting and mysterious man.

Most impressions of Richelieu are from Dumas and The Three Musketeers - a powerful, conniving, 'grey eminence' who was more powerful than the King of France. Dumas had plenty to work with - Richelieu was a colorful figure who restored a centralized French government, fought wars and allied with Protestant nations in equal turns, and paved the way for the raw power of Louis XIV - a shewd political animal, indeed.

This biography gives a strong impression of him, both from anecdotes and broad political movements. He was a patron of his religion and the arts, but was not above having enemies beheaded.

Very helpful notes and a chronology and list of characters in the back. A good resource to those who have an amateur interest and scholars of French history alike. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 29, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802717047, Hardcover)

Chief minister to King Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu was the architect of a new France in the seventeenth century, and the force behind the nation's rise as a European power. Among the first statesmen to clearly understand the necessity of a balance of powers, he was one of the early realist politicians, practicing in the wake of Niccolò Machiavelli. Truly larger than life, he has captured the imagination of generations, both through his own story and through his portrayal as a ruthless political mastermind in Alexandre Dumas's classic The Three Musketeers.

Forging a nation-state amid the swirl of unruly, grasping nobles, widespread corruption, wars of religion, and an ambitious Habsburg empire, Richelieu's hands were always full. Serving his fickle monarch, he mastered the politics of absolute power. Jean-Vincent Blanchard's rich and insightful new biography brings Richelieu fully to life in all his complexity. At times cruel and ruthless, Richelieu was always devoted to creating a lasting central authority vested in the power of monarchy, a power essential to France's position on the European stage for the next two centuries. Richelieu's careful understanding of politics as spectacle speaks to contemporary readers; much of what he accomplished was promoted strategically through his great passion for theater and literature, and through the romance of power. Éminence offers a rich portrait of a fascinating man and his era, and gives us a keener understanding of the dark arts of politics.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:42 -0400)

Captures the rise to power of a seminal figure who was instrumental in creating France as we know it.

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