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The Financial Decline of a Great Power: War, Influence, and Money in Louis XIV's France Hardcover – 1 Nov 2012


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Review

... a clear, lucid and easily comprehensible description of how military finance operated in the largest unitary European state of the eighteenth century ... will make this book one of the standard works of reference for all historians of French and European finance and state formation. (Aaron Graham, French History. Volume 27, Issue 3.)

In Guy Rowlands's scholarly and spirited new book, we dive into the underworld of French royal finance ... there can be few better guides to this underworld than Rowlands, who leads us to a deeply researched, thoroughly convincing explanation of the how and why of financial breakdown in this period. (Erik Goldner, H-France)

A lexical analysis of Rowland's writing makes the grim reality of the story he tells plain. ... Ostensibly focused on the financing of the war of the Spanish succession, this book has many ramifications. (Michael Hawcroft, French Studies)

this study provides a sure guide to a bureaucratic labyrinth and a convincing argument that the War of the Spanish Succession was even more of a disaster for France than has generally been believed. (Jotham Parsons, The Historian)

this book fills a crucial gap in the literature. One can only admire the author's ability to piece together disparate elements to document and discuss a number of important, if complex, issues. It will remain a must-read for all interested in Louis XIV's finance and one of Europe's most important conflicts. (Joel Felix, The Economic History Review)

Rowlands is meticulous and compelling in describing the gathering of the financial storm that hit France in the final years of Louis XIV's reign, and he employs a wealth of original material to document the interactions between the ministry and the officers of the royal treasury (Julian Swann, English Historical Review)

About the Author

Guy Rowlands is Director of the Centre for French History and Culture and a Lecturer in the School of History at the University of St Andrews. He is the author of The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV. Royal Service and Private Interest, 1661-1701 (2002), shich was co-winner of the Royal Historical Society's Gladstone Prize (2003). Prior to his appointment at St Andrews he held teaching and research positions at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, and Durham. His research interests span western European history between 1660 and 1800, with particular focus upon politics, war, and finance. He has been a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2007-08) and a Senior Research Fellow of the British Academy and Leverhulme Trust (2010-11).

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8ea52d8c) out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e945f18) out of 5 stars A Financial History of France during the War of the Spanish Succession 19 April 2014
By Gary McCollim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Guy Rowlands follows up his history of the French military under Louis XIV with a history of how France financed its wars under the Sun King. This is not a pretty story. There are lots of names involved because the royal government relied on all kinds of private individuals to raise money. This is a more comprehensive story than the one I tried to tell in my own book which focused on the idea of an income tax (Louis XIV's Assault on Privilege). Financial history is not very interesting to most people, but it reveals more about what was actually happening than any other kind of history. Rowlands does an excellent job exploring an area that most historians either do not know or do not understand.
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