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The Prince of Europe: The Life of Charles Joseph de Ligne (1735-1814) [Hardcover]

Philip Mansel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

13 Mar 2003
The Habsburg courtier Charles-Joseph Prince de Ligne seduced and symbolized eighteenth-century Europe. Speaking French, the international language of the day, he travelled between Paris and St Petersburg, charming everyone he met. He stayed with Madame du Barry, dined with Frederick the Great and travelled to the Crimea with Catherine the Great. But Ligne was more than a frivolous charmer. He participated in and recorded some of the most important events and movements of his day: the Enlightenment; the struggle for mastery in Germany; the decline of the Ottoman Empire; the birth of German nationalism; and the wars to liberate Europe from Napoleon. He had surprisingly radical views, believing for example in property rights for women, legal rights for Jews and the redistribution of wealth. He was also a highly respected writer and his books on gardens, his letters from the Crimea and his epigrams are considered minor classics of French literature. Though sometimes neglected in Britain, Ligne has remained a popular historical figure in Europe and as the continent moves towards greater integration Mansel has produced a colouful and timely biography of this effortless European, a man for our time.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (13 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842127314
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842127315
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,235,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


We have set a press date of 27 March and finished copies have now gone out. Early news is that the Franco-British Society are keen to organise a joint event with the Franco-Belgian Society - ideal for this biography of this key truly European figure. Philip has also done an event with the Austrian CulturalForum and the Austrian Ambassador on 27 May when he was in conversation withour own Giles MacDonogh. Philip has also done a very successful literary lunch at Hartwell House on 14 May. We are also expecting widespread review coverage - the first excellent one is in the current issue LITERARY REVIEW and last weeks SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, SUNDAY TIMES, MAIL ON SUNDAY and DAILY TELEGRAPH. Other reviews include the THES, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY, BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE, TIMES, SPECTATOR. Philip has also written an article for the DAILY TELEGRAPH, a large feature for their Gardens section on the Chateau where the Prince lives, it's the Belgian Versailles. The Prince was a keen gardener and believed that it was good for the soul. This was be accompanied by original photos notfeatured in the book and came out on the 3 May. 'By any standards, Ligne's was an exceptional life, and Mansel recounts it with impressive scholarship and elegance of style, and, most significantly, displays an obvious rapport with his subject.'John Adamson, THE LITERARY REVIEW "This is a story overflowingwith memorable incidents and characters, told with delicacy and great skill;into its fabric, much of the complex dynastic and diplomatic history of late18th-century Europe has been effortlessly woven."Noel Malcolm, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH "A superbly funny, colourful and debauched journey through the palaces and bedrooms, taverns and battlefields of emperors, charlatans, philosophers and prostitutes with the wittiest and naughtiest charmer in Europe."Simon SebagMontefiore, SUNDAY TIMES "How I wish I had known the Prince de Ligne! A fascinating biography." ANTONIA FRASER, MAIL ON SUNDAY "Mansel presents the fruits of his massive labors with delicate care and the book is written in readable, anecdotal, explanatory prose."INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY "The sparkling biography of the French aristocrat who was known across Europe." HISTORY TODAY Don'tforget we are actively working to promote not only this title but also his ne

About the Author

Philip Mansel, who has lived and taught in Paris, is one of Britain's leading historians. His book CONSTANTINOPLE was described by William Dalrymple as 'An impeccably researched masterpiece of exquisite historical writing.' He currently lives in London.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Biography 18 Oct 2010
As with "Constantinople, the city of worlds desire" , Mansel presents an exquisite, highly readable,well researched, and very very recommendable biography. A great discovery, as i couldnt put the book down, and enjoyed every bit of it. The delightful style used by Mansel has no equal when describing the outstanding life of the Prince of Ligne in the fields of diplomacy, literature, army and court life. A joy to read.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing depiction of a man of importance of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 21 Oct 2010
By CHRIS VANHAIGHT - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Charles-Joseph de Ligne was a Belgian aristocrat (before there was a Belgium), a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire (which was based in Vienna), and a court favorite at Versailles (though technically a foreigner). Though this book is sometimes a bit long in its details, if you are interested in late 18th / early 19th century European history, this book offers an interesting perspective about a man of importance in his own time who is now largely forgotten.
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