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'A devil and a popish one at that'

  • Offers a convincing reassessment of Richelieu's ministerial career.
  • Includes an examination of Richelieu's rise to power.
  • Explores Richelieu's political objectives.
This concise and up-to-date assessment of Richelieu's career provides an enthralling introduction to the character and exercise of his power. Richelieu governed France for 18 years until his death and until the mid-20th century was viewed by Anglo-Saxon historians as cold, clever and ruthless. Recent interpretations have been more favorable and in this incisive study R. J. Knecht uses recent research to reassess Richelieu's career and achievements. And, as the other titles in the Profiles in Power series, this is not a full blown biography, though inevitably it contains much biographical material, it instead analyzes the major features, achievements and failures of Richelieu's career.

R.J. Knecht has written extensively on French history and his publications includes the Rise and fall of Renaissance France (1996) and The French Civil Wars 1562-1598 (2000).

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Editorial Reviews

Paperbound reprint of a 1991 study in which Knecht (emeritus, French history, U. of Birmingham) uses current research to reassess Richelieu's career and achievements. Focusing on his ministerial career, he looks at the nature and mechanics of Richelieu's power and how he used it. Topics include his rise to power; his relations with the high nobility and the Protestants; his aims and policies; his influence on the economy, overseas development and trade, taxation, and the navy; his conduct of foreign affairs and war; his use of propaganda; his part in the development of royal absolutism in France; his methods of government; and his patronage of learning and the arts. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher

'... balanced and dispassionate - and entirely convincing' English Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780582557109
  • Publisher: Longman Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/6/1995
  • Series: Profiles in Power Series
  • Pages: 259
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.45 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

R.J. Knecht has written extensively on French history and his publications includes the Rise and fall of Renaissance France (1996) and The French Civil Wars 1562-1598 (2000).

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Table of Contents


1. Richelieu's Rise to Power (1585-1624).

2. Richelieu as Chief Minister.

3. Richelieu's Triumph.

4. Richelieu and the High Nobility.

5. Richelieu and the Huguenots.

6. Richelieu's Foreign Policy (1624-35).

7. Richelieu and War (1635-42).

8. Richelieu, Taxation and Popular Unrest.

9. Richelieu and Absolutism.

10. Richelieu and the Economy.

11. Richelieu as a Propagandist.

12. Richelieu as Patron of Letters.


Bibliographical Essay.


List of Dates.

Map 1: France in 1630.

Map 2: Central Europe c. 1618.

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