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The marquis : Lafayette reconsidered

by Auricchio, Laura.

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In a biography that looks past the storybook hero who cast aside family and fortune to advance the transcendent aims of liberty and justice, Laura Auricchio gives us a rich portrait of a man driven by dreams of glory and felled by tragic, human weaknesses. We come to understand the personal struggle... Full description

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Summary: In a biography that looks past the storybook hero who cast aside family and fortune to advance the transcendent aims of liberty and justice, Laura Auricchio gives us a rich portrait of a man driven by dreams of glory and felled by tragic, human weaknesses. We come to understand the personal struggles, social quandaries, and idealistic visions that inspired an orphaned young nobleman to cross an ocean at age nineteen to fight a war that was none of his concern. Here is the young Lafayette, removed from the French army as a result of sweeping reforms, trapped in a gilded cage until American emissaries reached Paris seeking support. In the American cause, Lafayette, whose only vision had been of martial glory, saw a way to reach his dreams, and seized it with gusto. Americans welcomed him with open arms, and he returned their affection fully. His American éclat was so brilliant and his enthusiasm so great that he quickly became the symbol of the Franco-American alliance that ultimately defeated Great Britain. But while Lafayette's reputation rose to great heights during the American Revolution, it collapsed during the French one. As revolutionaries hurtled in radical directions and monarchists dug in their heels, Lafayette lost control, doing everything in his power to prevent an American-style republic from taking root in his native land. Formerly seen as France's heroic figure, Lafayette was now viewed as opportunistic, a dreamer, and a traitor to his nation--and today remains a murky figure in French memory. Auricchio, drawing on substantial new research conducted in libraries, archives, museums, and private homes in France and the United States, gives us history on a grand scale as she reveals the man and his complex life, and challenges the myths that have surrounded his name for more than two centuries.--From publisher description.
Physical Description: xxvi, 409 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references( pages 371-390) index.
ISBN: 9780307267559 (harcover : alk. paper)
0307267555 (harcover : alk. paper)
9780307387455 (trade pbk.)
0307387453 (trade pbk.)
Author Notes: Laura Auricchio is a specialist in eighteenth-century French history and art who received her undergraduate degree from Harvard and her PhD from Columbia University. Auricchio has been the recipient of major fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and Columbia University. She is currently the Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at The New School for Public Engagement. She lives in New York with her husband.
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