Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

The Journey

Book - 2001
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In this illuminating and sweeping biography of France's most infamous queen, best-selling author Antonia Fraser portrays a young woman whose journey from palace to guillotine was doomed by her innocence and the manipulations of the ancien regime.
The life of Marie Antoinette has been told before, but never with such sympathy. Antonia Fraser takes us behind the scenes to tell the story of the fourteen-year-old Archduchess of Austria's arrival at the French Court of Versailles, betrothed to the reluctant future King Louis XVI. Hostage to her mother Empress Maria Theresa's foreign policy, Marie Antoinette was immediately accused of political interference by the French, yet she was not interested in state affairs.
The kind of queen that Marie Antoinette wanted to be - gracious, philanthropic, patroness of the arts (especially music), and above all maternal and protective of her private life - was not to be. She was criticized fiercely for not following the expensive and intransigent ways of Versailles. Her marriage was a disaster and she was publicly ridiculed for her initial inability to conceive an heir. Her low self-esteem led to years of frivolity and extravagance. Yet after 1789 when she at last became a mother, and her husband collapsed into weakness, Marie Antoinette found both the spirit and the courage to face her accusers and her tragic end.
Marie Antoinette is a work of impeccable scholarship that took five years to complete. In preparing her material for this work, Antonia Fraser researched the archives of Austria and France and visited all the sites associated with the Queen. The result is a masterpiece of historical non-fiction.
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : Doubleday, c2001.
ISBN: 9780385257572
0385257570
Characteristics: xxii, 512 pages, [48] pages of plates :,illustrations (some color), geneological, map, portraits ;,25 cm.

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t
TLOrr
Feb 14, 2015

place on hold

p
pwalmsley
Nov 10, 2011

An incredibly well researched, and thoroughly engrossing book. Great insight into not only Marie, but her husband, family, and inner circle.

debwalker Apr 30, 2011

"Antonia Fraser is an expert on royalty, having penned 11 biographies on regal subjects. While they are all worthy reads, her 2001 biography of Marie Antoinette is the most suitable to celebrating Kate Middleton's becoming a princess (as well as a bride). Marie Antoinette: The Journey is widely considered to be the most thorough and balanced book about the controversial Queen of France available."
CBC Books

r
ryner
May 31, 2007

Antonia Fraser's well-researched work details the known facts in the life of Marie Antoinette ? from her grand childhood as the daughter of an empress, to her marriage to Louis XVI and her life as France's queen, to her tragic and ultimate downfall with the start of the French Revolution.

Although I would recommend it to history fans, the book took me longer to complete than a book of this size normally would, partly because there was simply so much information to digest. I was also occasionally bored with the more political details. However, I find it amazing that we do know so much about Marie Antoinette and these events that occurred more than 200 years ago.

Compared with Abundance, a work of historical fiction published in 2006 by Sena Jeter Naslund which complements this one fairly well, Fraser's Marie Antoinette is a more sympathetic character. In a rather stark contrast to popular opinion, both of her contemporaries and her reputation persisting through history, she is painted very nearly as an innocent victim of circumstance. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.

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