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To the Scaffold The Life of Marie Antoinette
To the Scaffold The Life of Marie Antoinette Author:Carolly Erickson isbn: 0688073018 but system shows as hardcover — From Publishers Weekly — This smoothly written biography concentrates on social history, although Erickson ( Bonnie Prince Charlie ) also details the political and economic background of 18th-century France. Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was raised the daughter of Empress Maria Theresa in the Viennes... more »e court of the Hapsburgs, at whose lavish balls and fetes as many as 10,000 guests might dine. But Versailles, where she reigned after marrying King Louis XVI of France, glittered even more, and Erickson recreates its life aptly, describing the elaborate clothes, the duties of courtiers, the rigid etiquette. While the queen's education had equipped her for the role of royal hostess, she was ill-prepared to deal with the intrigues surrounding her. At first timid, fearful and passive, Antoinettesic gradually grew brittle and hardened by "a constant surfeit of pleasures." The author believes the queen had only one extramarital love, a Swedish nobleman named Axel Fersen. And she argues that Antoinette, condemned to death by revolutionaries, finally showed courage and dignity: her last words were an apology to her executioner for accidentally stepping on his foot. Although the book does not add a great deal of new information, it is a highly readable account.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA-- Much maligned in her lifetime, Marie Antoinette is likewise much misunderstood by history, which portrays her as a vain, selfish, and insensitive woman of limited intellect. Erickson attempts to right the wrongs and correct the image of this queen in an easily read biography that avoids both academic cant and "psychohistorical" pretension. Tracing Marie Antoinette from her childhood among her 13 brothers and sisters at the court of her legendary mother, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, the author portrays her not as the selfish queen of lore but as a reasonably intelligent, opinionated woman of decidedly conservative bent whose ultimate "crime," for which she paid with her life, was having the wrong title in the wrong place at the wrong time. To the Scaffold will be enjoyed by students of European and French history. --Roberta Lisker, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.« less