Subtitled ""A Vivid Biography of the Amoral, Unscrupulous and Fascinating Statesman"" -- this combines scholarship with a flair for writing which should make it interesting reading. An unsympathetic but penetrating picture of Talleyrand,- brilliant, uncanny in his ability to foresee the right side and put himself there, despite the vicissitudes of French government from 1780, when he first achieved prominence, to his death in 1838. From a bishop in the Catholic Church, he became a supporter of the French Revolution, then a trusted adviser of Napoleon's, a leader of intrigue against Napoleon along with Metternich, Austrian diplomat, and others- a policy maker at the Congress Vienna, back to the side of the Bourbons in their brief return to power, instigator and supporter of the revolution that put Louis Philippe on the throne, and finally- at reaching reconciliation with the Church on his own terms -- and throughout this never in danger of losing control. While of particular interest to students history, it should have wider market among those who enjoy following intrigue in governmental and diplomatic circles. Not for quick sale, but of lasting value.