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Catherine de Medici's father-in-law, King Francis of France, was the perfect Renaissance knight, the movement's exemplar and its Gallic interpreter. An aesthete, diplomat par excellence, and contemporary of Machiavelli, Francis was the founder of modern France, whose sheer force of will and personality molded his kingdom into the first European superpower. Arguably the man who introduced the Renaissance to France, Francis was also the prototype Frenchman - a national identity was modeled on his character. So great was his stamp that few countries even now are quite so robustly patriotic as is France. Yet as Leonie Frieda reveals, Francis did not always live up to his ideal; a man of grand passions and vision, he was also a flawed husband, father, lover, and king.
With access to private archives that have never been used in a study of Francis I, Frieda explores the life of a man who was the most human of the monarchs of the period - and yet remains the most elusive.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By 2point71 on 06-23-18
A chronology, not an analysis
I purchased this book because I was intrigued by the subtitle 'The Maker of Modern France', having thought that if anyone deserves the title of 'maker of modern France' it's Richelieu or maybe Henri IV . However, there is nothing about this in the book. The book itself is a reasonably good description of Francis' rather pointless wars and feuds, particularly with Emperor Charles V and Henry VIII, as well as some interesting descriptions of life at his court. But that is it. Nothing about the growth of French Protestantism, nothing more than a passing mention of the growing power of the Guise, to name just two obvious omissions. I was hoping there would be _some_ sort of summing up in the penultimate chapter - nope, just a long description of Francis' funeral. So overall, this book was disappointing, it's more like a well written and very long Wikipedia article, and in no way lives up to its billing. Just go to Wikipedia, you'll probably learn about more and in a lot less time.
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