Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Marie Antoinette: The Journey Paperback – September 12, 2006
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
In the past, Antonia Fraser's bestselling histories and biographies have focused on people and events in her native England, from Mary Queen of Scots to Faith and Treason: The Story of the Gunpowder Plot. Now she crosses the Channel to limn the life of France's unhappiest queen, bringing along her gift for fluent storytelling, vivid characterization, and evocative historical background. Marie Antoinette (1755-93) emerges in Fraser's sympathetic portrait as a goodhearted girl woefully undereducated and poorly prepared for the dynastic political intrigues into which she was thrust at age 14, when her mother, Empress Maria Theresa, married her off to the future Louis XVI to further Austria's interests in France. Far from being the licentious monster later depicted by the radicals who sent her to the guillotine at the height of the French Revolution, young Marie Antoinette was quite prudish, as well as thoroughly humiliated by her husband's widely known failure to have complete intercourse with her for seven long years (the gory details were reported to any number of concerned royal parties, including her mother and brother). She compensated by spending lavishly on clothes and palaces, but Fraser points out that this hardly made her unique among 18th-century royalty, and in any case the causes of the Revolution went far beyond one woman's frivolities. The moving final chapters show Marie Antoinette gaining in dignity and courage as the Revolution stripped her of everything, subjected her to horrific brutalities (a mob paraded the head of her closest female friend on a pike below her window), and eventually took her life. Fraser makes no attempt to hide the queen's shortcomings, in particular her poor political skills, but focuses on her personal warmth and noble bearing during her final ordeal. It's another fine piece of popular historical biography to add to Fraser's already impressive bibliography. --Wendy Smith --This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
From Publishers Weekly
A child-princess is married off to a husband of limited carnal appetite. Her indiscretions and navet, scorned by elderly dowagers, are coupled with charity, joie de vivre and almost divine glamour but her life is cut brutally short. The queen of France's life is rich in emotional resonance, riddled with sexual subplots and personal tragedies, and provides fertile ground for biographers. Fraser's sizable new portrait avoids the saccharine romance of Evelyne Lever's recent Marie Antoinette, balancing empathy for the pleasure-loving queen with an awareness of the inequalities that fed revolution after all, Marie herself was fully conscious of them. Her subject shows no let-them-eat cake arrogance, but is deeply (even surprisingly) compassionate, with a "public reputation for sweetness and mercy" that is only later sullied by vituperative pamphleteers and bitter unrest. She would sometimes be trapped by ingenuousness, and later by a fatal sense of duty. Yet her graceful bearing, acquired under the tutelage of her demanding mother, the empress Maria Teresa, made her an unusually popular princess before she was scapegoated as "Madame Deficit" and much, much worse. The portrait is drawn delicately, with pleasant touches of humor (a long-awaited baby is conceived around the time of Benjamin Franklin's visit: "Perhaps the King found this first contact with the virile New World inspirational"). Fraser's approach is controlled and thoughtful, avoiding the extravagance of Alison Weir's royal biographies. Her queen is neither heroine nor villain, but a young wife and mother who, in her journey into maturity, finds herself caught in a deadly vise. Color and b&w illus. (on sale: Sept. 18) Forecast: Fraser needs no introduction to American audiences. She will come over from England for a five-city tour, and with widespreand favorable reviews, this should have no trouble making the bestseller lists. It's a BOMC, History Book Club, Literary Guild and QPB selection.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Preloaded Digital Audio Player edition.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
One representative example of many from this hideous cataclysm:
As the biographer states about the horrible events of September 2nd, 1893, "What was happening was a maniacal assault on the inhabitants of the Paris prisons, with some of the royal family’s most beloved attendants still incarcerated..." The prisoners included the Princesse de Lamballe, who was killed with hammer blows to the head, her body torn apart, her head and entrails paraded around Paris on the tips of spears, even under the windows of Marie Antoinette imprisoned in the Tower.
This is by far the finest book about Marie Antoinette that I have ever read. It carries the reader along on a life-story that is both tragic and fascinating in a terrible way. It is the story of an innocent woman caught up in a vicious, ugly revolution that used calumny of the vilest kind against her...against a Queen who had never ordered violence against any Frenchman.
In my decades and decades of reading I have never been more revolted than by the actions of this nation, a nation swept into a maelstrom of insane fury by the lies of ambitious men masquerading as philosophers and patriots.
The French nation gave itself over to savagery and it should not glorify that memory in annual celebrations. Rather, the shame of what its people did two centuries ago should bring sighs and regret, as it should cause loathing and horror in all the rest of the world...the civilized world.
Marie Antoinette was the most innocent of victims. But she was trapped between a France that unjustly loathed her and an Austria that no longer cared about her but was still the only country from which she had any hope of rescue.
You will not find a history more unrelentingly painful than this. Nor will you find it related with more insight, more honesty, or more humanity.
I recommend whole-heartedly this biography of a victim of epical greed and jealousy. Her stoic ascent of the fatal steps to the guillotine can scarcely be traced without awakening a feeling of horror in the reader and of indignation and despair at the wretched nature of mankind.
Very readable and worth the effort to learn more about this woman, this time in history and what it says about the human heart that endures still.
Starting, as any biography of Marie Antoinette must, in Austria under the reign of Maria Teresa, the book proceeds to describe life in the Empress' household and the various intrigues therein. The book tries not to miss any significant points along the way, but the book soon moves to the marriage of Marie to the young French Dauphin Louis XVI. From there, the life and political machinations of the courtiers and Marie among them are highlighted. Fraser sometimes seems to get lost recalling all the courtiers and their significances, but Marie is always kept as the central figure. Through this storytelling the reader watches a young woman grow up, sometimes under bad influences, but mostly under the watchful eyes of responsible advisors.
There is quite a bit of focus on Marie and Louis' failure to consummate their marriage, with the lightness of the King's attitude towards the Prince (Louis) in sharp contrast to the heavy yoke of responsibility laid on the Prince by Marie's brother the Emperor Joseph. In time, the married couple figure out their roles and they give birth to the first Dauphin.
What stands out about Fraser's prose is her ability to evoke great joy in the reader, as well as great sadness. She gives the joy of the royal family at the birth of their first child directly to the reader. Likewise, when the Dauphin, a sickly child, dies at a young age, Fraser pulls no punches and the sadness of the royal family is also felt by the reader.
Naturally, the book goes on to cover the rule of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette as she oversees her hobbies and children. The attempted escape, called the flight to Varennes, is well covered and Fraser does a good job of bringing out the tension and suspense of the incident. The recounting of this event reads very much like fiction, though the events are very real. Finally, the book wraps up with the incarceration and execution of the royal family at the hands of the French revolutionaries.
The inclusion of paintings and photographs of important people and places makes the book all the more enjoyable. From the cute portrait of the Austrian imperial family to the sketch of Marie Antoinette on her way to the guillotine, each picture frames the period discussed so well that the reader's imagination is free to explore the world of 18th century France and Austria.
Fraser's book is an easy, if long, read, but it is enjoyable and reads very much like fiction rather than a dry biography. The only places it lags are when the number of characters gets too unwieldy or when Fraser tries to explain the bloodline relationships between various courtiers. I think anyone wanting to get a solid background on the life of Marie Antoinette would welcome this book to their library.