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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars La Dubarry - the last maitresse en titre of the ancien regime, 6 Feb 2008
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Amelrode (Vilvoorde) - See all my reviews
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Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry (August 19, 1743 - December 8, 1793) was a French courtesan who became the last maitress en titre of Louis XV of France and is one of the most famous victims of the Reign of Terror. Coming from a most humble background she made it to Versailles, into the King's bed and then to the position of the King's acknowledged mistress. As reflected in art from the time, she was a remarkably attractive blonde woman. Her life story is quiet an extraordinary one.

Joan Haslip is a renowned author who knows exactly what she is writing about. Her biography on Madame Du Barry not only captures Jeanne but as well the political side of her elevation. She was pushed by people who wanted to influence the king so that she should become a second Pompadour. While she was part of the faction that brought down Duke of Choiseul, Minister of foreign affairs, she was unlike her late predecessor Madame de Pompadour in that she had actually little political influence upon the king. While known for her good nature and support of artists, the King's financial extravagance towards her was the source of increasing unpopularity. Her relationship with Marie Antoinette, the future Queen of France, was legendary contentious. Her "reign" as mistress of the King proved how corrupt the whole Versailles system has become. I enjoyed the "lost parts" of her life as very often one is reading about her role of mistress and shortly after that she is send to the block. However, between the end of her role in Versailles (1774) and her death (1793) there are nearly 20 years. She lived mainly in her famous Château de Louveciennes,

Joan Haslip manages to create sympathies for the comtesse du Barry and shows how she manages to climb up the social ladder and survive in this poisonous environment of Versailles. No mean achievement I would say. One understands so much better this woman. On the other hand Haslip writes sometimes too romanticized and tends to portrait people in extremes.

All in all, a book I enjoyed reading and which grasps the essence of La Du Barry!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Book on a Fantastic Personality, 31 Aug 2012
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This book gives an excellent account on the entire life of Jeanne Bécu, later to be known as "Madame du Barry". The book is beautifully written and gives the reader everything he needs to know about King Louis XV's last maîtresse-en-titre.
I was particularly impressed by the chapters following her life at court and after her departure from the Pont aux Dames convent. An intense focus was given on her entire life and a full biography has thus been completed. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in 18th Century France, aristocracy at court or simply a well written biography.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, 26 Aug 2012
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I absolutely hate reading. Even after completing my degree I had never read a book cover to cover as I did not believe there was a book that could hold my attention. That was until I found Antonia Frasers 'Marie Antoinette' I was hooked and loved reading that book. I am very interested in the French language and it's history so I decided to purchase this book to further my knowledge of another important individual in French history. The book is not that big, however I found it so enjoyable that I finished it in a couple of days. If you are interested in the French revolution, Versailles and just a general look at France in the eighteenth century then this is your book. Also I have never quite understood properly the make up of the first, second and third estates before. This book explains it very well! Thank you, would recommend. If your taking it on holiday may need to take another book as this does not last long and I would not consider myself to be a fast reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Madame du Barry by Joan Haslip, 11 May 2013
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As is the case with every book by Joan Haslip that I have ever read, it is excellent and well worth reading.
She sympathises/empathises ? with the subjects and brings them back to life.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you love all things about 18th Cent. Aristos Court life . . ., 15 Oct 2010
Don't have time to say exactly how great this book is, but believe me, wow what a fab read! LOVE it!!
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