An analytical biography of ""the most impenetrable and incomprehensible of men"" -- perhaps the greatest diplomatic figure of the 18th century. Not romantic biography, although the substance is there. A scholarly picture, in no sense pedantic, of the man in relation to his work. Full of anecdotal material from memoirs and contemporaraneous sources. Objective view of Talleyrand as an opportunist not above feathering his own nest, but at the same time fighting to preserve equilibrium and peace for France. Cold, acute, classical type, playing a lone hand. An interpretation, subtle, stimulating. An excellent translation keeping the flavor of the original.