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Eminence : Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France

ISBN: 9780802778529 | 0802778526
Edition: 1st
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pub. Date: 2/26/2013

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Chief minister to King Louis XIII, Cardinal Richelieu was the architect of a new France in the seventeenth century, and the force behind the nation's rise as a European power. In the wake of Niccol˛ Machiavelli, he was one of the first statesmen to practice realpolitik, clearly understanding the necessity of a balance of powers. Truly larger than life, he has captured the imagination of generations, both through his own story and through his portrayal as a ruthless political mastermind in Alexandre Dumas's classic The Three Musketeers. Forging a nation-state amid the swirl of unruly, grasping nobles, widespread corruption, wars of religion, and an ambitious Habsburg empire, Richelieu's hands were always full. Serving his fickle monarch, he mastered the politics of absolute power. Jean-Vincent Blanchard's rich and insightful new biography brings Richelieu fully to life in all his complexity--from his youth and early career in the Church to gaining a central role at court to striding influentially across the European stage. At times cruel and ruthless, Richelieu was always devoted to creating a lasting central authority vested in the power of monarchy, a power essential to France's position in Europe for the next two centuries. Richelieu's careful understanding of politics as spectacle for the media speaks to contemporary readers; much of what he accomplished was promoted strategically through his great passion for theater and literature, and through the romance of power. ╔minenceoffers a rich portrait of a fascinating man and his era, and gives us a keener understanding of the dark arts of politics.


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