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The World in 1800

release date: Jan 22, 2018
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The World in 1800
"Olivier Bernier's richly detailed, engaging, and elegant books offers a splendid refresher course on a pivotal moment in world history - the dawn of the modern era." - Francine du Plessix Gray In the year 1800, almost everyone lived very much as their ancestors had, going back countless generations. In the countryside, illiterate peasants - the majority of the population - still scratched out a living from the soil, while in the cities, merchants hawked their wares in open-air market stalls and nobles led lives of opulent leisure. Yet everywhere were unmistakable signs that all of this would soon change forever. Spread by France's seemingly invincible citizens' army, the seeds of republicanism had been planted throughout Europe. In the Americas, the United States had proved to the world the feasibility of a government of, by, and for the people, and Mexico was threatening to follow its lead. And while it still took four months for an official dispatch to travel from London to Calcutta, Europe's leading nations - France and England - had established global empire-building strategies. In the year 1800, the world suddenly found itself enmeshed in a web of money, war, and political intrigue, out of which a new world - our world - was struggling to be born. Bringing all his talents as a first-rate storyteller to bear, Bernier takes us inside the courts and parliaments of the major powers to listen in on the political discourse of the day. He leads us into the boudoirs and ballrooms of the rich, the cramped homes of the middle class, and the hovels of the poor to provide an intimate glimpse of the private lives of the first modern men and women. A spellbinding account of one of the most momentous chapters in the story of civilization, The World in 1800 is a singular achievement by a premier historian and an irresistible read.

Louis XIV

release date: Feb 17, 2018
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Louis XIV
Louis XIV - the Sun King or Louis the Great, as he was also known - ruled France with an iron fist for over half a century, from 1651 to his death in 1715, outliving his son and even his grandson. His court at the Palace of Versailles became the most dazzling on the Continent, and through his intelligence and cunning, he made France the leading power of Europe. Now, in this masterful biography, historian Olivier Bernier brilliantly recreates Louis XIV's world to reveal the secrets of this monarch's unequaled sovereignty and to explore the singular mystique that surrounds him today. Not only was Louis heir to his father's throne, he felt he was divinely chosen to rule France. From the year he became king at the age of thirteen, he oversaw every aspect of government, from waging war and making political appointments to supervising the building of his many palaces. Along with political treachery that marked Louis XIV's long reign, Bernier also brings to light the personal scandals. We witness the poignant resignation of Louis XIV's queen to her husband's parade of mistresses and illegitimate children, the infamous intrigue when the king's brother was accused of poisoning his wife in a jealous rage, and the momentous building of Versailles, not an act of monstrous self-indulgence that bankrupted the nation but the visible expression of Louis XIV's new monarchy - his ingenious methods of centering all activity around court life, thus preventing his courtiers from fomenting rebellion. Under the Sun King, architecture, painting, music, and theater flourished, making France not only a great political force but a paradigm of fashion and culture as well. Louis XIV takes us from the grandeur of Versailles to the battlefields of the countryside, from the bedrooms of the king's mistresses to the chambers of his ministers, and presents an engrossing portrait of royal life and a commanding leader.

Lafayette

release date: Oct 24, 2017
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Lafayette
Historian Olivier Bernier draws an indelible portrait of the man who represented, more than anyone else, the idea of French nobility to all Americans of the early Republic and who represented to the French the idea of freedom and its American expression. Lafayette was, indeed, the hero of two worlds. Bernier's Lafayette - much of it based on previously inaccessible documents - is a man who lived the liberal ideal as few others have. In the war for American independence, this twenty-year-old was a stubborn, tenacious, and ultimately victorious commander, the favorite of George Washington with whom he developed a unique father-son relationship. Returning to Paris with yearnings for a liberalized government, he was soon caught up in the 1789 revolution, first as its champion, then as the guardian of the king, finally as the only man capable of maintaining order in 1790 and 1791. Once the king fled the capital, however, Lafayette's position became untenable, and he was forced to escape to Belgium. But there, the right-wing emigres considered him a traitor, and he was arrested and sent to Austria, where he languished in prison for years. Finally, the diplomatic efforts of George Washington and other Americans led to his release and return to France. Now, Napoleon feared him as a potential rival, a fear heightened when Lafayette went into self-imposed exile to protest Napoleon's abuse of power. During the revolution that followed Napoleon's downfall, Lafayette maintained his liberal principles as few others bothered to, and his position was vindicated by the uprising that installed the July monarchy and France's first middle-class constitution. Enriching this chronicle of a man and his age are the stories of young "Gilbert's" many loves, as well as the steadfast relationship with his adoring wife. And never far from the marquis's heart was his love for his adopted home. He maintained it through a forty-year correspondence with the Founding Fathers and an unrelenting, if often quixotic, defense of liberal ideals. For its part, the young American republic knew no grander celebrations than those thrown in honor of his return in 1824.

Marie Antoinette

release date: Jan 24, 2018
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Marie Antoinette
". . . [A] behind-the-scenes peek at Versailles . . . and an account of a fraught mother-daughter relationship. . . . [A] graceful guide . . ." - The New York Times This fascinating and poignant collection of letters between Marie Antoinette, the doomed dauphine and future queen of France, and her mother, Maria Theresa, archduchess of Austria and queen of Hungary and Bohemia, provide a revealing portrait of the legendary queen's tragic life and the age in which she lived. Beginning in 1770 when the young princess departed for France and ending with Maria Theresa's death in 1780, these intimate letters reveal the hostility the young dauphine encountered at Versailles, her flouting of court etiquette, and her interference in court politics. Maria Theresa offers her daughter constant advice on everything from matters of state to sex. These remarkable letters are superbly translated by Olivier Bernier, an acclaimed expert on eighteenth-century France, who also provides extensive commentary. "[Marie Antoinette] remains an unforgettable royalist heroine . . . she never fails to move us. [Olivier Bernier's] vision of complicated events is always clear and understandable; his theories of history rethought. . . . Donnez-moi mon Bernier!" - Vogue "[This book] will change our picture of eighteenth-century France and deepen our understanding of power, naiveté, and corruption." - Gloria Steinem.

Bernier, Rosamond

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Bernier

release date: Oct 08, 2019
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Bernier
Show off your last name and family heritage with this Bernier coat of arms and family crest shield notebook journal. Great birthday, diary, or family reunion gift for people who love ancestry, genealogy, and family trees.

Pleasure and Privilege: Life in France, Naples, and America 1770-1790

release date: Dec 11, 2018
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Pleasure and Privilege: Life in France, Naples, and America 1770-1790
"Only those who lived before the Revolution know how sweet life can be," Talleyrand wrote, many years before the event. Those who dip into Olivier Bernier's lively pages will discover just how sweet, how deep the pleasure, how precious the privilege. For he has populated this book with real people and offers real facts about them and their societies, all based on personal letters, memoirs, diaries, and biographies. The result is fascinating history, filled with irony and contradiction. French culture during the 1770s and 1780s bloomed as it never had before (or never has since), producing the most etiquette-ridden, frivolous, glittering, and useless aristocracy since Louis XVI carried the court off to Versailles a hundred years earlier. Yet this spendthrift culture also produced the beginnings of just about everything "modern" we take for granted - fast communications, fast foods, and mass production, to name only a few. It was a remarkable era by any standards, giving rise to ideas of liberty that in the end buried the very monarchy that sacrificed to make them a reality in the United States. It was an era that saw the rise of the colony of San Leucio, boasting an elected assembly with nobility, required education, and vaccination - all in the midst of the kingdom of Naples, ruled over by Marie Antoinette's slightly more clever sister and a court as irresponsible and even more disorganized (with candelabra but no plates for dining) than the French model it slavishly aped. Bernier has given us a marvelously spirited view of those two pivotal decades when modern history began, when royalty and revolution, ironically, joined unwilling and violent hands to usher in a new age.

Bernier

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Bernier from Paris

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Princes of the Renaissance

release date: May 02, 2018
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Princes of the Renaissance
Acclaimed art historian and Metropolitan Museum of Art lecturer Olivier Bernier brings vividly to life the dramatic, little-told stories of the great princes and princesses of Renaissance Italy - men and women named Borgia, Este, Farnese, and Medici.
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