Description - King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV by Philip Mansel

The first full biography of the great Sun King of France for twenty years, including many recent discoveries and seeing Louis XIV in a broader European and world context

Louis XIV dominated his age. He extended France's frontiers into the Netherlands and Germany, and established colonies in America, Africa and India. Louisiana, which once occupied a third of the territory of the present-day United States, is named after him. The stupendous palace he built at Versailles, and its satellites at Marly and Trianon, became the envy of monarchs all over Europe. In all his palaces, Louis encouraged dancing, hunting, music and gambling. He loved conversation, especially with women- the power of women in Louis's life and reign is a particular theme of this book.

Louis was obsessed by the details of government but the extraordinary cost of building palaces and waging continuous wars devastated the country's finances and helped set it on the path to revolution. In 1685, his decision to revoke toleration for Protestants damaged France, and at the end of his life, his forces were persistently defeated. Nevertheless, by his death, he had helped make his grandson king of Spain, where his descendants still reign, and France had taken essentially the shape it has today.

King of the World is the most comprehensive and up-to-date biography of this hypnotic, flawed figure in English. It draws on all the latest research to draw a convincing and compelling portrait of a man who, three hundred years after his death, still epitomises the idea of le grand monarque.

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Court of France 1789-1830
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