Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

by Joan Haslip

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a sympathetic reassessment of France's ill-fated Hapsburg queen, Haslip (The Lonely Empress, etc.) focuses on her subject's early years. The author attributes Marie Antoinette's failures to inexperience, the ineptitude of her husbandboth of them pawns in the Franco-Austrian allianceand a flighty, naive though generous nature, ill-suited to cope with the intrigues of a corrupt court under the sway of Louis XV's mistress DuBarry. The Dauphine's voluminous letters included here to her mother, the Empress of Austria, and to her mentor, Count Mercy, the Empress's ambassador and spy, are vivid records of Marie's daily life and Versailles gossip. But Marie's concerns are frivolous in the stern light of her mother's politically savvy replies. With a king too weak to defend her, the young queen's imprudence and Austrian blood eventually turned the nobility and an impoverished, resentful people against her, despite the birth of an heir. Haslip provides a moving account of the last tragic period of Marie's life and the courage and dignity with which she faced humiliation and death. Illustrations. (March)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Though there are numerous biographies available on Marie Antoinette, this is a good introduction for general readers. Overall, the portraits of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI are fairly standard. The queen is frivolous, vain, and fickle, but not cruel or deceitful; the king is sincere and kind but also clumsy and weak. The book is reliable when it sticks to the queen and her entourage, but there are numerous errors and outdated interpretations when it moves to topics relating to France or Europe at large, e.g., Louis XVI did not take the initiative in bringing France to the aid of the American colonies. Despite such errors, however, this is a lively and accurate portrait of the queen herself.Thomas J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ., N.Y.

Product Details

Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st American ed

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