UVRARD: Speculator of Genius by Otto Wolff

UVRARD: Speculator of Genius

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Written by a well-known German industrialist who died in 1940, this somewhat pedestrian biography tells of the amazing career of Gabriel Julien Ouvrard, the brilliant and now almost forgotten French financier of the later Revolution, the Napoleonic era, and the years following Waterloo. Born in 1770, son of a paper manufacturer. Ouvrard was an inspired gambler, an exponent of international credit, and a commercial financier gifted with vision before his time. Starting his career as a wholesale grocer, he went to Paris in the last year of the Terror, made a fortune by speculation, and through his knowledge of wholesale groceries became Victualler and Purveyor to the army and navy, reorganizing their supply systems. Believing sincerely in peace but with an eye to personal gain, he tried to stop Napoleon's conquests, and attempted to break the British blockade by bringing silver and gold from Mexico in a three-way deal of international credit involving Spain, France and England. Nearly ruined by Napoleon, who hated him and failed to repay the vast sums Ouvrard advanced him, after Waterloo Ouvrard evolved the plan of credits and loans by which France paid the ruinous reparations forced on her by the Allies. Living in luxury, dealing with international bankers, Ouvrard was often imprisoned, but survived until 1846, when he died in London in obscurity but not in poverty. Not for amateurs of history, this biography of an astonishing man will appeal to students of the financial aspects of the Revolution and the Napoleonic era, and belongs in libraries of the period and in collections on international finance.

Pub Date: May 17th, 1963
Publisher: McKay