Charles-Maurice de Tallyrand-Perigord (1754-1838) was a diplomat for all regimes. He had major French governmental posts, including brief stints as prime minister, for nearly four decades: during the post-terror phase of the French Revolution and then under Napoleon and the Bourbon King Louis XVIII. As portrayed by Lawday, a former correspondent for the Economist, Talleyrand was a womanizer (he and Gouverneur Morris, then the American ambassador to Paris, competed for the same mistress) and a money-grubber, with a certain aristocratic hauteur. Yet Tallyrand was gifted at diplomacy: he was patient, an exceptional listener and, most important, a conciliator. Having had an exceptionally close relationship with Napoleon, he came to staunchly oppose the emperor's "insatiable ambition" and even committed near-treason in his complicity with Austria and Russia against Napoleon. Lawday devotes appropriate space to Talleyrand's finest moment, the 1815 Congress of Vienna, where his skills steered the assembled diplomats to allowing France to remain an integral part of the "concert of Europe." Though comprehensive and quite good, Lawday's biography is long on narrative, hewing closely to the details of Tallyrand's unfolding life, but short on analyses of Tallyrand's choices and of the broader French and European contexts in which he acted. 8 pages of b&w photos; maps. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand (DO NOT ORDER - UK Edition)by David Lawday
Lawday explores in detail Talleyrand’s perverse relationship with Napoleon, whom he fought with flattery, courtesy and an alarmingly straight face. Quite as much as the Duke of Wellington, it was this club-footed genius of French diplomacy who defeated the great conqueror and delivered France and all Europe from the Emperor’s follies. See more details below
Lawday explores in detail Talleyrand’s perverse relationship with Napoleon, whom he fought with flattery, courtesy and an alarmingly straight face. Quite as much as the Duke of Wellington, it was this club-footed genius of French diplomacy who defeated the great conqueror and delivered France and all Europe from the Emperor’s follies.
One of the key players in the momentous events of European history, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord is best known as chief adviser to Napoléon. He was also instrumental in bringing about the emperor's downfall and then playing an active role during the Restoration regimes of Louis XVIII and Charles X. Further, he was ambassador to London for Louis-Philippe during key negotiations that ended centuries of hostilities between England and France. Talleyrand sprang from the upper aristocracy but was relegated to the priesthood because of a deformed foot. Joining the clergy in no way inhibited his libertine habits and he quickly became a leader in the Parisian social scene. Ex-journalist Lawday (Economist) has created a compelling portrait of this dynamic Frenchman, downplaying Talleyrand's hedonistic and opportunistic reputation while arguing that Talleyrand was a true statesman who envisioned a Europe governed by international laws and engaged in free trade. Although some scholars may quibble over the book's thin documentation, Lawday's is the first English-language biography of Talleyrand in over 70 years. Recommended for all libraries.
- Random House UK
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Meet the Author
David Lawday was born in London and educated at Oxford. A writer and journalist who was a correspondent for twenty years with The Economist, he now lives in Paris with his wife and two children.
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