Marie Antoinette: The Journey

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Anchor Books, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 512 pages
101 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review: Was she a sexual predator, political meddler, wastrel, and traitor? Or was she a scapegoat for a corrupt and bankrupt nation, who went with superb dignity to the guillotine, the victim of a vindictive judicial murder? The tragic life of Marie Antoinette, rich in conflicting detail, remains a biographer's challenge, and Antonia Fraser's richly human yet evenhanded account is a reader's delight. In 1770, Marie Antoinette, aged 14, wed the awkward 16-year-old who in 1774 became Louis XVI. The marriage was intended to strengthen the Austrian-French alliance and produce sons to continue it. Marie Antoinette was of little use in the first endeavor; she lacked political power. Louis was of only occasional help in the second; he suffered from phimosis, an inhibiting physical condition. While the pair wandered through their doomed lives, fury built up in bankrupt France, exploding in the ferocity of the Revolution. Everybody criticized Marie, who was known both as l'Autrichienne (the Austrian woman) and l'autruche chienne (the ostrich bitch). She was regarded as extravagant ("Madame Deficit"), pro-Austrian, and childless for too long. But, as Fraser demonstrates, Versailles demanded extravagance, and in politics Marie Antoinette was more pawn than player, pushed by wily Austrian diplomats and blocked by shrewd French ministers. Fraser draws upon a huge range of sources to present a dazzling cast. Mozart, Gluck, Jefferson, Paine, Franklin and numerous others cross her pages. Fersen, the queen's discreet, devoted Swedish lover, looms large. The author succeeds brilliantly in describing how the once-vibrant Marie and the decent, despised, and irresolute Louis transformed themselves as the Revolution took its murderous course. Love of family gave them courage; love of France gave them nobility. The horrific fate of Marie Antoinette, physically abused by the canaille, viciously libeled by the blood-soaked false prophets of liberty who condemned her, reminds the reader of just how thin the veneer of civilization is - and how often revolutionaries are worse than those they condemn.

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I like others who watched Marie Antoinette (2006), fell in love with the movie and the history behind it. It took me 6 years! to finally buy the book from Ms. Fraser and I am sure glad I read her book. The book was intriguing without it being dry and boring, I remembered many of the phrases that were stated in the book and the people involved in the Queen's life. As a young adult it was definitely a good read during the summer and perfect for those with a love of monarchies. 

Review: Marie Antoinette: The Journey

User Review  - Nadin - Goodreads

I have watched the movie starring Kristen Dunst. The story is totally misleading and didn't show the most important events of the french revolution. For instance, they didn't refer to the death of ... Read full review

Contents

III
3
IV
14
V
26
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Antonia Fraser is the author of Mary Queen of Scots, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, and Faith and Treason, among others. She is also famous for her Jemima Shore series of mysteries. She and her husband, Harold Pinter, live in London.


From the Hardcover edition.