The Sun King (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 6 Oct 2011
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"Beautifully evokes the period" (Independent on Sunday)
"Delightfully gossipy...irreverently lifts the skirts of the dolls of Versailles and rummages about underneath, exposing one gem of irresistible detail after another...A glorious tribute to a glorious age" (Irish Times)
"La Mitford plonks the reader amid the seething snobbery and maniacal struggle for High Life that was the Sun King's regime... brilliantly acerbic" (Observer)
"Her style is skilfully succinct; and her wit proceeds from uncommon shrewdness...readers will wish her her book were twice as long" (Sunday Times)
"Highly entertaining...written with her accustomed dash and gaiety, in a manner which frequently suggests one of her delightful novels... Because Miss Mitford is so at home in Versailles, she confers the same feeling of being at home upon a sympathetic modern reader" (Sunday Telegraph)
'Gossipy account of the art, affairs and poison paranoia at Louis XIV's Versailles' The TimesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book occupies a centre ground between popular and adademic history; a bit heavy at times for the former (but you do get the detail you want), and a bit light for the latter (but easier to read than most specialist history texts). It also has the benefit of the author's knowledge of court life, including an amusing anecdote about her own presentation at Buckingham Palace.
If you are interested in this period of French history I warmly recomend this book.
That background and Nancy Mitford's witty prose make her study of Louis and her court so readable that her exhaustive research and genuine scholarship may be overshadowed.
To the unitiated, Louis is a gilt and ormalu figure rather than one of the most interesting personalities in European history. Anyone new to the Louis fascination will be infected, but Mitford's biography is also deep enough for readers who know much more.
Most biographers of Louis understand how interesting, funny, and complex his personality and long life were. Mitford explains this phenonomen well, and illustrates his personality by examining Louis's family, court, and surroundings.
Mitford lived near Versailles for many years and draws from hundreds of original French documents.
It is not highly in-depth and lacks details ie. about Anne of Austria, Louis XIII, the wars and policies. However I think for this is Mitford deliberately choosing to stay focused on the man and what he did domestically and socially leaving Philip Erlanger et al to deal with the politics.
The style of the book is textbook. It has a large number of pictures to go with the text and is written simply and to the point. This I'm assuming is the reason my eight year old nephew read and liked it whereas if he had read Erlanger he'd have been bored. And Mitford's Sun King is certainly not boring.
Having said that, I think this makes a very good introduction to the court of Louis XIV. Throughout the book there are illustrations in both black and white and colour of the Royal family, courtiers and, of course, Versailles. There's also a fairly detailed family tree which is an absolute must when it comes to keeping track of who's who because of the similarities of name and title. It was a very engrossing read and it certainly helped this reader get her head round the different Louis' of the time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good story well written & informed , good story all around
would recommend to anyone interested in this great monarch!
everything Ok for me book arrived safely and in good condition I have no adverse comments to make. With thanksPublished on 14 May 2014 by gillian ford