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Joseph Fouché: Portrait of a Politician

Joseph Fouché: Portrait of a Politician [Kindle Edition]

Stefan Zweig , Cedar Paul , Eden Paul

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Product Description

Product Description

This biography of the man Stefan Zweig viewed as "the most perfect Machiavelli of modern times" was written in 1929, before the full impact of Nazism and Stalinism was understood. In this gripping case study of ruthlessness, political opportunism, intrigue, and betrayal, Zweig portrays Minister of Police Joseph Fouché (1759-1820), a "thoroughly amoral personality" whose only goal was political survival and the exercise of power.

Zweig traces Fouché's career, beginning with his stint as a math and physics teacher in provincial Catholic schools and evolving into a moderate and then radical legislator. Fouché cultivated every political movement du jour, holding no convictions of his own. After preaching clemency for Louis XVI, Fouché voted to send the King to the guillotine. After writing "the first communist manifesto of modern times" he became a multi-millionaire. He led the brutal repression of an anti-revolutionary movement, earning him the nickname "le mitrailleur (butcher) de Lyon". After serving Robespierre, Fouché engineered his overthrow and rose to Minister of Police under the Directory, which he then helped to overthrow before putting his network of informants in Napoleon’s service as his Minister of Police. After turning against the Emperor, Fouché served the new King Louis XVIII – whose brother he had helped send to the guillotine. Thus, Fouché served the Revolution, the Directory, the First Empire and the Restoration.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 773 KB
  • Print Length: 327 pages
  • Publisher: Plunkett Lake Press (17 Jan 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #85,608 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was an Austrian writer who, at the height of his fame in the 1920s and 30s, was one of the most famous authors in the world. Zweig was born into a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family in Vienna, where he attended school and university before continuing his studies on Berlin. A devotee of Hugo von Hoffmanstahl, he had published his first book of poetry by the age of 19. After taking a pacifist stance during the First World War he travelled widely and became an international bestseller with a string of hugely popular novellas including Letter from an Unknown Woman, Amok and Fear. He also developed friendships with great writers, thinkers and artists of the day, including Romain Rolland, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arturo Toscanini and, perhaps most importantly, Sigmund Freud, whose philosophy had a great influence on Zweig's work.

In 1934, with the rise of Nazism, he moved to London. There he began proceedings for the divorce of his first wife Frederika, whom he had left for his secretary Lotte Altmann, a young German-Jewish refugee. In London he also wrote his only novel - his most famous and arguably greatest work, Beware of Pity - before moving to Bath, where, with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he and Lotte took British citizenship. With the German occupation of France in 1940, Zweig, a committed pacifist and advocate of European integration, was devastated. "Europe is finished, our world destroyed," he wrote. Zweig and Lotte married and left Europe for New York, before finally settling in Petrópolis, Brazil, where in 1942 the couple were found dead in an apparent double suicide.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story about a man I'd never heard of 23 Nov 2012
By MauryaL - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Being American my French historical knowledge is sparse, to put it mildly! A French colleague of mine recommended this book, otherwise I would still be ignorant of Joseph Fouche.

I learned a tremendous amount about France and French history during the time of Louis XVI. Fouche was the ultimate politician, and I found it most interesting to read how he manipulated the system in that era.

For me this was not an easy read. It is very factual and also I had to look up a lot of French names that I knew nothing about (many visits to Wikipedia as well!) But overall, it was a good book, and I recommend it at the same time as giving you some caveats about the book.

Good Luck.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars timely bio of a politician 29 Jan 2012
By Helen Epstein - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Stefan Zweig, most widely known for his The World of Yesterday, regarded his work on this biography with mixed feelings but it is one of his best, a fast-paced portrait of a man with no allegiance to any ideology but the acquisition of his own power. It's a wonderful way to get back into French and European history and a reminder that our own political times are but a new variation on very old themes. For the story of how Zweig wrote and researched his biographies, it's useful to read Married to Stefan Zweig by his first wife Friderike Zweig.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read 16 Jun 2014
By Lisa Chaplin - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for research purposes about a man who lived in the shadows. Most works including him have him as a sinister figure of evil. Zweig brings Fouche to a form of reality - the puppet-master who was an ultimate realist. I learned greatly from this book and will keep referring to it.
5.0 out of 5 stars CREATOR OF THE MODERN POLICE 28 April 2014
By shadow22 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Joseph Fouche has always been a supporting element, behind the scenes of French history. This book, with him as the focus, tells the story of a powerful element in the control of France, throughout a number of governments. A chameleon, Fouche always managed to be on the winning side, until his luck finally ran out.

I am now re-reading this book, to pick up detail that I missed firt time around.
5.0 out of 5 stars Understanding Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Ulbrich and ... 11 Dec 2012
By Kullervo Marja-aho - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Stefan Zweigs book portraits a man who created secret police during the french revolution. He served
catholic church, Robespierre, Ludvig XVII, Napoleon and betrayed all. Therefore Zweig describes him
as a basic arch type of a politician and diplomat.
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