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The Sun King (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 6 Oct 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (6 Oct. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099528886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099528883
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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)

Book Description

'Gossipy account of the art, affairs and poison paranoia at Louis XIV's Versailles' The Times

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Having enjoyed Antonia Fraser's recent book, Love and Louis XIV, I picked this up in a charity shop, and I'm very pleased I did so. Mitford's book is still respected and it is cited in Fraser's bibliography as a source.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Nobody understood the nuances of aristocratic society better than the Mitford sisters. No aristocratic society ever had more nuances than Louis XIV's.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
...Look no further. Mitford knew noblesse oblige being, as she was, in the upper class department and it shows throughout this book. Her obvious research and her ability to tell a good story make this a fairly brilliant place to start to get an understanding of Louis Dieudonne.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Nancy Mitford's biography of Louis XIV is rather gossipy in tone; you can almost imagine that she's writing about people she's actually met, but very readable (probably because of the gossipyness). Unlike other biographies I've read there were no references although there was a list of sources used at the back of the book. This, taken together with the way Nancy Mitford writes, makes it very difficult for the reader to tell which bits (if any) are speculation on the author's part or disputed by other biographers.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A true Nancy Mitford book. She spent many years in Paris and did marvellous research. She writes in a clear, interesting style not only about Louis XIV, but about his courtiers and his palaces. Naturally with Nancy M. I found no inaccuracies.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For anybody who thinks Nancy Mitford is light weight - read this! History skewered on the Mitford quill. It's probably the only historical biography I had read at the time where the author wasn't afraid to voice her own oppinion - rather than pretending that finally the author has cracked the definitive character of the subject and everything that has gone before is mis-guided hookum Nancy Mitford combines the fact with HER interpretation. Yes people have condemned her obvious love and fascination for the Sun King but what is wrong with having an author appreciating the grandeur of their subject? What is wrong with having readable history? Imagine if she'd lived long enough to tackle Elizabeth 1st? ( I have since read her other biogs).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While this is well written, informative and readable, it is prerevolutionary France seen through the eyes of Nancy Mitford, a firm believer in aristocratic government, so it has an outdated feel. She also, being Nancy Mitford, creates a strong personality for the characters - and characters is the right word as this reads like a historical novel, not a biography.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well written, interesting and fun. Nancy Mitford brings the period back to life and recreates the atmosphere and intrigues of one of the most famous kings of Europe.
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