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Voltaire in Exile: The Last Years, 1753-78 Paperback – 13 Jan 2006
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"Davidson ... presents a vivid account of Voltaire's mounting disquiet over a tradition-bound regime around which the ice was beginning to crack. it is one of the charms of Davidson's semi-biography that he presents Voltaire in all his human variety."
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who thought they knew something about Voltaire, given
the common misunderstanding and ignorance about the
journey that Voltaire made in political thought and
civil-rights campaigning - as well as commerce -
during an incredibly productive time at the end of his
life. (The title refers to the fact that this period
was spent mostly near Geneva, for safety from the
The work is scrupulously detailed about Voltaire's life (being largely based on his some 15,000 letters), while remaining clear and gently passionate, and without losing any sense of the rhythm of Voltaire's journey, but the author does not ornament Voltaire, and he does not need to: the story, and the narrative therefrom, are fascinating, and of key importance not just for Voltaire, but also the history of freedom in Europe.
The style of writing is light with each chapter leaving you with a suspense (unlike most history/auto biography type books that mundanely list dates and facts).
Also, you'll be intrigued on just how powerful a role religion played during the 18th century. Some of the trials and executions are written out in quite explicit detail.
The author goes to some lengths to base his work on Voltaire's numerous letters, but without boring the reader in any way.
In addition, you'll learn a lot about Geneva, and its role as a Republic during this period.
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