My Review of Louis XIV: A Royal Life

Louis XIV: A Royal Life by Olivier Bernier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a good book about a remarkable man. So while it is in some respects a hagiography, there is at least some justification for that. This covers the life and times of The Sun King from birth to death, and he did live a long and eventful life. The way he tamed the French nobility was masterful, and he did have a good grasp of international politics. But I think that he did best when he had advisors he listened to, such as Colbert. It looks like by the end he started believing his own press and was convinced he knew better than everyone else, and that is not always the case. Was the War of Spanish Succession really a net positive for France? I think you can make the argument that it was not, and it is an example of where Bernier argues a bit too hard that Louis made the right call. And from an historical point of view, this regime is the great example of absolutist monarchy, and while it was successful at the time, it helps set the stage for the Revolution against his descendant Louis XVI.

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