Éminence Cardinal Richelieu and the Rise of France

Jean-Vincent Blanchard

Walker Books

0802717047

9780802717047

Hardcover

320 Pages

CAD32.50

$30.00

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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. Among the first statesmen to clearly understand the necessity of a balance of powers, he was one of the early realist politicians, practicing in the wake of Niccolò Machiavelli. 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. 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 on the European stage for the next two centuries. Richelieu's careful understanding of politics as spectacle 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. Éminence offers a rich portrait of a fascinating man and his era, and gives us a keener understanding of the dark arts of politics.

REVIEWS

Praise for Éminence











"A richly rewarding study of both an early student of absolute state power, and how his influence built the foundation for France's domination of seventeenth-century Europe."B&N Review

"Blanchard gives Cardinal Richelieu a tremendous depth of character through the re-creation of key, decisive moments over the course of his courtly career."Kirkus Reviews




"Cardinal Richelieu receives a more nuanced portrayal from Blanchard . . . [he] excels in digging deep beneath the surface to reveal the extraordinary man who spawned the legend."—Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

"Blanchard paints a riveting picture of the scope of Richelieu's career . . . While the life of the notorious cardinal is hardly untouched material for writers, Blanchard's biography is one of few recent treatments of the subject in English and should be well received by scholars and general readers with a serious interest in French military or political history."—Tessa L.H. Minchew, Library Journal

"Blanchard's captivating biography vividly captures the rise to power of a seminal figure who was instrumental in creating France as we know it."Publishers Weekly (starred review)



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jean-Vincent Blanchard

  • Jean-Vincent Blanchard is Associate Professor of French Studies at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. Born in Canada and raised in Europe, he earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1997. He is a specialist on pre-revolutionary France, with particular emphasis on the seventeenth century, and has published on a broad range of subjects in politics, history, religion, philosophy, and the arts. Éminence is his first book in English.

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