Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era

Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era

by Caroline Moorehead


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Her canvases were the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; the Great Terror; America at the time of Washington and Jefferson; Paris under the Directoire and then under Napoleon; Regency London; the battle of Waterloo; and, for the last years of her life, the Italian ducal courts. She witnessed firsthand the demise of the French monarchy, the wave of the Revolution and the Reign of Terror, and the precipitous rise and fall of Napoleon. Lucie Dillon—a daughter of French and British nobility known in France by her married name, Lucie de la Tour du Pin—was the chronicler of her age.

In this compelling biography, Caroline Moorehead illuminates the extraordinary life and remarkable achievements of this strong, witty, elegant, opinionated, and dynamic woman who survived personal tragedy and the devastation wrought by momentous historic events.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061684425
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/27/2010
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 1,149,883
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Caroline Moorehead is the New York Times bestselling author of Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France; A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France; and Human Cargo: A Journey Among Refugees, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. An acclaimed biographer, Moorehead has also written for the New York Review of Books, the Guardian, the Times, and the Independent. She lives in London and Italy.

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Dancing to the Precipice: The Life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, Eyewitness to an Era 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
kdkirby56 More than 1 year ago
The book not only provides insight into the life of Lucie de la Tour du Pin, but also to the plight of the French aristocracy in the years subsequent to the fall of Louis XVI. While certainly not sympathetic to the aristocracy as a whole, it lays out how profoundly their sheltered world was shattered and how various people reacted. With regard to Lucie, I had never heard of her before reading this book. I discovered she was really quite influential in her own way and exhibited the strength of character and leadership commonly found in women in an age when women were not highly regarded. The myth of woman as the weaker sex is once again exposed in Lucie. Despite all the tragedy that occured in her life, her story is ulitmately an uplifting one and you come away wishing you could have known her personally. We are taught "Big History." We know all the major events that profoundly impacted nations and people (e.g. Pearl Harbor). However "little history" really reveals life at its fullest in the various epochs of history. This books is a shining addition to the little history of France in what was a very turbulent time for the nation.
Idumea More than 1 year ago
Lucie de la Tour du Pin was the Zelig of her of the late 18th - early 19th century in France and Belgium, Holland, London, and Albany NY where she lived on a farm and entertained Talleyrand. Raised to be a lady in waiting to Marie Antoinette she would become known for her sewing and her ability to make butter in the back woods of New York state- of course with the family crest imprinted on top. This biography, availing its-self of Mme. de la Tour du Pin's diaries and her later letters brings the era alive as few books on the revolution have ever done. The last second kindnesses of many in Revolutionary and Directoire France saved Lucie and her beloved Frederic more than once, leaving the reader breathless as the ship sails off. Married to Frederic for nearly fifty years they endured much together including the loss of 6 children and many friends. They kept going, never gave up, and in the end, a story that has to be read to be believed. Ms. Moorehead is to commended for creating such an outstanding work. She is clearly biassed toward her subject, but then, who wouldn't be. Certainly a candidate for the Pulitzer in Biography.
opinionatedinandfromNYC More than 1 year ago
This is a take on the Ancien Regime, and the decades following its demise that is different from most of what we read. It shows the real life, rather than larger than life, consequences and personalities that went through Versailles, the Terror, and all that followed from the fall of the Bastille, including Napoleon and the Restoration years. Whether it means to or not, it sheds light on the consequences we still have with us today--including the 1% here and elsewhere.
ljbirns More than 1 year ago
An excellent book. Give a good look a life in the late 18th and early 19 th century. recommended for anyone who enjoys history.
lorespar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Take me to another place, and another time. Sometimes looking back at other more violent times in history makes me feel not so terrible about our own times. The aristocracy is weakened, and the masses have risen. The French Revolution is so important as a symbol of nationalism. I loved this book!
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BookLoverCCN More than 1 year ago
This was requested, so I gave it as a gift. The recipient really enjoyed this book & gives it 5 Stars!
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