From Publishers Weekly
Irreverent in tone, omniscient in viewpoint, French historian Manceron's ongoing history of the French Revolution is a month-by-month panorama. In this fifth installment, we watch fatuous Louis XVI, bobbing like a cork on the waves, surrounded by incompetents and knaves (including Charles Alexandre de Calonne, his cunning finance chief). We see revolutionist statesman Mirabeau, "like a marathon runner in training," interposing himself between the masses and the privileged. The often-present-tense narration lends immediacy and the scope is international, extending from the Kiev of Russian Empress Catherine II to Philadelphia, where morose George Washington signs the Constitution. Mozart, Goethe, Stendahl and a thin, unprepossessing 18-year-old lieutenant, Napoleone de Buonaparte, add luster to this dazzling, unconventional history. Illustrated.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This is the final volume of Manceron's work, and it carries the story to the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Like the earlier volumes, this employs a racy, vivid style in its descriptions of people and events. A recurring theme is the desperate attempts of the various finance ministers (Calonne, Brienne, and Necker) to prevent the royal government from going bankrupt. Although the author has perused a large number of 18th-century sources, he makes little use of recent historiography. Most of the book consists of scattered vignettes from the lives of famous Europeans and Americans. In his effort to entertain the reader, the author repeats several old legends of dubious merit.- Thomas J. Schaeper, St. Bonaventure Univ.,
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.