on 2 August 2009
Philip Mansel's Louis XVIII is a little known book that is bound to fascinate and enrapture all that pick it up. Philip Mansel succeeds in creating a thorough portrait of Louis XVIII of France, highlighting his good characteristics, and bad ones. Mansel does not venerate Louis XVIII as a quasi-god in the book (as many biographers do to their subjects).
The publication is a dramatic tale of a "deprived prince", who is restored to his rightful place atop the throne of France after over 30 years of exile in countries as diverse as Germany, Russia and Italy. Louis XVIII was the last French monarch to die while still ruling.
There are some irritating elements to the book. Mansel insists on quoting contemporaries in their native French, and then provides an English translation English. Other than that the book is mesmerising, well worth it!