KING OF THE FRENCH by Agnes de Stoeckl


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Louis-Philippe waited, longingly, for the death of King Louis XVIII. He waited again, longingly, for the overthrow of the Bourbons and the exile of Charles X. But patience, mixed with a certain elegance of manner and boyish charm, was his only endearing feature. A shameless sycophant, a coward with the fastest heels in France, a small-minded intriguer and brazen opportunist, Louis-Philippe usurped the throne during a political crisis, and neither knew how to rule nor to institute a single original policy. His major achievements, during the generation of his reign, were to save Versailles from becoming an almshouse, to introduce kissing as a diplomatic weapon, and to remove close distinctions at the sumptuous feasts he held. To stay in power, Louis-Philippe conciliated and endorsed all factions, all causes, all leaders- from the staunchest royalists to the most fiery socialists. Meantime he neither surmised nor resisted the ruin plotted for him by his own ministers. In the end, he was forced to flee France disguised as a ""Mr. Smith"". An enjoyable biography, this catches- with celerity- the many facets (if not the depths) of each event, and with some of its sensational material it may even reach some of the grimmer intellects of the ladies' clubs- as well as those already interested in this period and this man.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1958
Publisher: Putnam