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Publisher's Summary

"The massacre followed the sacrificial logic of the scapegoat: unable to vent their violence upon its intended object, the king, the revolutionaries chose victims who symbolised the sovereign power of the king and whose deaths could serve to unify the people.... The destruction of the Swiss Guard allowed the revolutionaries to usurp and transform the royal notion of the body politic. This outcome is captured by reports the massacre of the Swiss was accompanied by cries of 'Vive la nation!', replacing 'Vive le roi!'" — Jesse Goldhammer
Since the earliest days of civilization, people have built homes not just for shelter, but to proclaim their status in the world. There is evidence from the earliest known cultures that one way in which rulers showcased power was by building a more elaborate home than those around them had. Through the centuries, as homes grew larger and better furnished, those in charge had to make their homes even larger and furnish and decorate them even more, to the extent that by the time of the Middle Ages, some homes were actually castles designed to withstand combat and allow entire communities to survive attacks by invaders. Though the need for such large dwellings eventually passed, the desire for them did not, and so the castle gave way to the palace, a building the size of a castle but as elegant as its owner could afford to make it.
France, like all European countries, has had its fair share of palaces over time, but none suffered the rise and fall of fortune like the Tuileries. Built by a widow with a flair for architecture, it grew for more than a decade, along with the royal family that it housed.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors
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