THE PEOPLE'S GENERAL by David Loth

THE PEOPLE'S GENERAL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A breezy biography of Lafayette through the years of the American and French revolutions. The author recreates with a good deal of flourish the over-ripe years of the pre-Revolution days in France, the hey-day of the aristocratic society of which young Lafayette, from one of the oldest great families, was a part. A captain in the dragoons, Lafayette was yet not satisfied with the peaceful life and when men in France saw an opportunity to make hay in America against England, he eagerly set out for the New World at 18, in spite of family objection. Then began a love affair between America and the buoyant young Marquis in which the young man was entranced not only with ideals but with Gen. Washington. (Some wonderful, misspelt, awkward letters to Washington are quoted here.) The author describes in detail Lafayette's part in the Revolution and his later role in France, in which it would seem the subject is given too much credit for stalling the violence. For the Marquis did waver in action -- witness the approval of Louis-Phillippe which he regretted a few days later -- although he remained constant in his ideal of a peaceful constitutional monarchy. Much to interest the student of history here, although the writing is informal enough for a larger audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1951
Publisher: Scribner