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  • Published: 31 December 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446448786
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

Napoleon's Master

A Life of Prince Talleyrand

A vivid and brilliant life - the first for more than 70 years - of one of the greatest and most fascinating statesmen of all time.

He took on Napoleon with a set of weapons that seemed unsuited to the task: flattery, courtesy and an alarmingly straight face. And he won. Quite as much as the Duke of Wellington it was the club-footed genius of French diplomacy who defeated the greatest conqueror since Julius Caesar. This is the story of Prince Talleyrand, who attracts as much scorn as Napoleon wins glory. To his critics the arch-aristocrat who delivered France and all Europe from the Emperor's follies is the prince of vice - turncoat, hypocrite, liar, plotter, God-baiter and womanizer, and, to make matters worse, highly successful at them all.

In this life of the master diplomat, David Lawday follows Talleyrand's remarkable career through the most turbulent age Europe has known and explores - for the first time - in intimate detail his extraordinarily perverse relationship with Napoleon. The richly flawed and abundantly gifted character laid bare by David Lawday is the man to whom diplomats continue to look today for the subtlest tricks of the negotiator's art. A good 150 years before a united Europe came into being, Talleyrand's actions laid the ground for it - as they have for a permanent peace now enduring for two centuries between France and her oldest enemy, Britain.

  • Published: 31 December 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446448786
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 416

About the author

David Lawday

David Lawday is a native of London, educated there and at Oxford. He is a writer and journalist who was a correspondent for twenty years with The Economist, now based in Paris where his son and daughter grew up and where he lives with his French wife.

Praise for Napoleon's Master

A fast-moving romp through Talleyrand's life, engagingly admiring of its subject and appreciative of his many qualities

Adam Zamoyski, Sunday Telegraph


Ruth Scurr, Telegraph

A brisk and enjoyable book...an extraordinary story

David A. Bell, London Review of Books

Napoleon's Master dwells particularly on Talleyrand's struggle, as a man of peace, to restrain a genius of war. But it is alive also with the world of the Paris salon and the glittering connections of a most sociable diplomat

The Economist

A lucid and readable account of Talleyrand's career

Robin Buss, Independent

An entertaining biography

Gavin Bowd, Scotland on Sunday

Enjoyably written, well balanced and clearly sympathetic

Irish Times

There was clearly something prodigious about the resilience of 'Old Talley', and David Lawday's biography helps to explain how and why this icon of the Perigordian aristocracy was able to make himself indispensable to France's post-revolutionary rulers

Literary Review

This is the most accurate picture we have yet had of this `elusive' survivor.

Contemporary Reviewer

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