Power and Pleasure: Louis Barthou and the Third French Republic

Power and Pleasure: Louis Barthou and the Third French Republic

by Robert Young
     
 


Neither Barthou's contemporaries nor subsequent historians have known quite what to make of this bourgeois politician who fought a duel with Jean Jaurès and flew with Wilbur Wright. Many concluded he was an individual of considerable talent, few principles, and excessive ambition. No one, reading Power and Pleasure, can maintain that view. Robert Young,…  See more details below

Overview


Neither Barthou's contemporaries nor subsequent historians have known quite what to make of this bourgeois politician who fought a duel with Jean Jaurès and flew with Wilbur Wright. Many concluded he was an individual of considerable talent, few principles, and excessive ambition. No one, reading Power and Pleasure, can maintain that view. Robert Young, constructing a complete picture of Barthou, effectively refutes the charge of unprincipled ambition and deftly deals with the tension between political principles and pragmatism. Young has written a social biography, situating Barthou's life -- both public and private -- in the political and cultural context of the Third Republic. Barthou was a centrist in his politics and, while current scholarship maintains that centrists adopted regressive strategies in response to the social question, Young presents an alternative reading of their position. He argues that although centrists like Barthou were not socialists -- for them "bourgeois" was a positive term -- they were capable of adjusting their ideals to meet the social changes of modern France. Barthou's turbulent political career was tempered both by a thirty-five-year marriage to his supportive wife and by a lifetime of pleasure derived from music, art, history, books, and literature.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Quite simply, brilliant. The book starts off on a lively note and sustains it throughout. The research is exhaustive and impeccable. Beautifully written ... the style is closer to that of an elegant novel than to the prosaic style of most historical monographs ... [Young's book] ought to be required reading for anyone embarking on a study of French politics." William Irvine, Glendon College, York University. "This is a first-rate piece of work ... well-conceived, well-documented, and extraordinarily well-written ... Young has succeeded in his aim of providing a "full portrait" of Barthou. This is biography in the best of styles." John Laffey, Department of History, Concordia University.
Booknews
One of the great political figures of his day, Barthou (1862-1934) spent 45 years in French public life as lawyer, journalist, deputy, senator, and cabinet minister. Young (history, U. of Winnipeg) has written a social biography, situating Barthou's life--both public and private--in the political and cultural context of the Third Republic. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780773508637
Publisher:
McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date:
10/30/1991
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 1.20(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >