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Summary

In this gripping biography, acclaimed author Harlow Giles Unger paints an intimate portrait of the heroic young French soldier who, at 19, renounced a life of luxury in Paris and Versailles to fight and bleed for liberty - at Brandywine, Valley Forge, and Yorktown. A major general in the Continental army, he quickly earned the love of his troops, his fellow commanders, and his commander in chief, George Washington, who called him his "adopted son".

Unger follows Lafayette from the battlefields of North America to the palace of Versailles, where the marquis won the most stunning diplomatic victory in world history - convincing the French court to send the huge military and naval force needed to win American independence. He then returned to America to lead the remarkable guerrilla campaign in Virginia that climaxed with British surrender at Yorktown.

Lafayette's triumph turned to tragedy, however, when he tried to introduce American democracy in his native land. His quest for a constitutional monarchy unwittingly set off the French Revolution and plunged Europe into more than a decade of slaughter and war. Declared an enemy of the state, Lafayette fled France only to be imprisoned for five years in an Austrian dungeon, while his wife, Adrienne, and her family festered in prison, awaiting the cruel blade of the guillotine.

©2002 Harlow Giles Unger (P)2021 Tantor

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  • Huskydog
  • 21-12-21

Remarkable Man, Above Average Story

The Marquis de Lafayette was a truly remarkable man. In a time where I question the loyalty of many of my fellow Americans, its truly inspiring to follow the exploits of someone not born here but who came to America as a result of an admiration based on the defiance of authoritarian rule by its founders and their vision for a more perfect nation. My criticisms of this book are few. I wish there was more original narrative and a little less reading of Lafayette's letters. They're not always that revealing; how many times do we need to hear how much Lafayette loves his family and wishes he was with them? As for the audible reading, Mr. Boston did a fine job with the one exception of replacing "cavalry" with "calvary". Quite different meanings I'm afraid and its misquoted numerous times. So with those few exceptions a great retelling of the exploits of a great man.

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  • DM
  • 16-10-21

How is this man not known more?

An absolutely amazing man. One of the greats of history! As always, Unger does fantastic job with Layfeyette and his research and insight is amazing.
Read this book! NOW!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-01-22

WE GET IT! HE'S A "KNIGHT"

For some reason the author can't figure out any better overarching theme for Lafayette's life than his noble heritage. Every other paragraph he says something about knights and Arthurian legend. It's exhausting..

Otherwise, there is an extreme dependance on quotations. multiple sentences from countless letters. how many time do I need to hear Lafayette wright how much he loves Washington.

There is also no point of view beyond simple reportage of what happened, a rushed narrative at a breakneck pace, and a somewhat over reverant tone when it comes to the American revolution and it's figures.

It covers the basics most of the important events but kind of skims the last half of his life. the lament might not be as excited about what comes after the American and french revolutions, but if you write a book about Lafayette called simply "Lafayette", then it should be a complete look at his life, not just the most exciting bits

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  • lps562
  • 28-11-21

Great read!

Lafayette worked alongside Washington and other founders but is largely forgotten today. This work tells his fascinating story using letters and other original documents. He loved Liberty and aided America and France in that pursuit. Although his French Revolution history is tragic, Lafayette returned to his own home and country and finished his life well.

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  • brian
  • 22-10-21

Breathy Performance, Iffy Writing

Both the writing and its performance could be better, but the point gets across well enough. A haigiograpgy.

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  • linda brown
  • 05-10-21

Great find

I have searched for books about Lafayette in “Audible Books” for several years. Finally, a few months ago, I found this book and bought it. It was a great investment. The book kept my interest from beginning to end. A great story and a great reader.

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  • Yvette A.
  • 17-09-21

I didn't want the book to end

Lafayette's life was such an adventure, I didn't want it or his story to end.
When the constitution of America was juxtaposed to European tyranny I realized just how special American liberty was & still is.

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  • fair & balanced
  • 05-09-21

Not mentioned enough, as adopted American Hero

Like after I read about Benjamin Franklin this book on Marques De Lafayette, shows in a major way, that the American Revolution would not have been won without this Important founding father.

So much is Discovered it connects the dots Regarding our American revolution and the French revolution. Marques De Lafayette should be talked about way more than he is in the United States, for his proper place in history.

Yes of course there is George Washington. There's John Adams, Thomas Jefferson etc. etc. I can't emphasize more don't stop there read, read and read some more about this unique idea the American experiment. Our kids don't learn enough about it we must invest time and effort and continue to read learning about Our founding.

Then share Often to your kids grand kids and those around you. For unless we do We will forget how special or country The United States really is.

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  • Paul Custer
  • 11-08-21

Panegyrics-r-us

Superficial reportage, rather than serious history: much of it consists of the text of letters, and the author uncritically adopts the point of view gleaned from the most obvious sense of Lafayette’s words and actions. Every issue that crosses his path—and these are weighty and complex—is reduced to Lafayette’s stated opinions, or his clear interests. Slavery, First Nations peoples, the American and French Revolutions, endless war,,, each deserves rich and layered contextual treatment. Each deserves a closer and more probing, as well as a larger, and more composite, treatment. Instesad, we get hero-worship of a rather adolescent kind.

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  • Janet H.
  • 19-07-21

Fascinating!

Well worth the investment of time to listen to this story of an important man in US & French history. The narrator was wonderful, except for his atrocious French.