The memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon are well known to students of European and French history but are forbidding in the original because of their bulk. The Pleiade edition is in seven volumes. The excerpts chosen by de Gramont are those that show St. Simon at his best and worst -- as an accurate, compulsive diarist at some points and as a vindictive, petty courtier. Their value lies in the fact that they are first hand accounts of life and people at the court of Louis XIV. They are inaccurate at times, yes, but it is the quality of the virulence we admire. Of interest to students of history, French and world literature.