Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine by Kate Williams

By Kate Williams

Their love was once mythical, their ambition flagrant and unashamed. Napoleon Bonaparte and his spouse, Josephine, got here to strength in the course of the most turbulent classes within the background of France. the tale of the Corsican soldier’s marvelous upward thrust has been good documented. Now, during this spellbinding, luminous account, Kate Williams attracts again the curtain at the girl who beguiled him: her humble origins, her exorbitant appetites, and the tragic flip of occasions that resulted in her undoing.

Born Marie-Josèphe-Rose de Tascher de los angeles Pagerie at the Caribbean island of Martinique, the lady Napoleon could later name Josephine was once the final word survivor. She persisted a loveless marriage to a French aristocrat—executed throughout the Reign of Terror—then slightly escaped the guillotine blade herself. Her near-death adventure purely fueled Josephine’s ambition and heightened her decision to discover a guy who may well finance and maintain her. even though no vintage good looks, she quick built a name as the most fascinating girls at the continent.

In 1795, she met Napoleon. The allure used to be mutual, speedy, and excessive. Theirs used to be an often-tumultuous union, roiled through their pursuit of alternative enthusiasts yet intensely inquisitive about energy and good fortune. Josephine was once Napoleon’s ideal consort and the article of nationwide fascination. jointly they conquered Europe. Their extravagance used to be exceptional, even via the factors of Versailles. yet she couldn't produce an inheritor. Sexual obsession introduced them jointly, yet chilly organic fact tore them apart.

Gripping in its immediacy, attractive in its aspect, Ambition and wish is a real story of hope, heartbreak, and progressive turmoil, engagingly written through certainly one of England’s so much praised younger historians. Kate Williams’s searing portrait of this fascinating and intricate lady will ultimately bring up Josephine Bonaparte to the ancient prominence she merits.

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The Spanish thus looked at the French just as the French looked at them—hypocritical, insatiable, and out of step with the Almighty. But perhaps the most embarrassing argument against the policies of Richelieu was made by Cornelius Jansen, the penetrating Bishop of Ypres in the Spanish Low Countries. In his Mars Gallicus Jansen made the telling point that even if the Spanish were advancing their own interest along with that of Catholicism, it didn’t make any difference. 17 There is a tendency for modern historians to accept the premises of Richelieu in regard to the house of Austria or, less frequently, those of his critics in regard to him, but it is quite possible to look at these premises from a different perspective and to see them as extremely questionable.

22 But Mazarin had no lack of resiliency. ” She named Marshal de Turenne to succeed Guébriant and set about collecting 2 million livres—while declining the offer of D’Avaux— for the levying of more troops. As to the Dutch insistence on a truce, Mazarin confided in a mémoire to the plenipotentiaries that, in point of fact, France also wanted a truce, but he warned them not to act as if they did because if the Spanish got an inkling of it, they would oppose it. It would appear, therefore, as if his “law of opposites” cut both ways.

On that same day the Duchess de Chevreuse arrived, and the queen greeted her like a long-lost friend. And Châteauneuf was waiting in the wings! The queen was criticized in some quarters for her piety and in others for too much intimacy with Mazarin. 5 But Mazarin was not simply fighting for his survival; his was no ordinary ego. He had chosen to devote himself to the French monarchy—his dignity, his reputation, and, last but not least, his vanity required that he 34 Mazarin’s Quest serve it well.

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