Mass Market Paperback ô Louis XI MOBI ´


Louis XI Portrays the life of the controversial fifteenth century French king who consolidated a medieval realm into an enduring monarchy


7 thoughts on “Louis XI

  1. M. Baerends M. Baerends says:

    Louis XI lived through much of the 15th century when he was very young he met Jeanne d Arc who had to step in to save the Kingdom, by the time he died the powerful Burgundians had lost their independence and the French monarchy had become that much powerful for the time being.His life was eventful As a youngster, he was constantly at odds with his father Charles VII the infighting included an actual rebellion , allegedly in part because he outshone his ineffective father Eventually he ended up being put in charge of the Dauphine region mainly to have him out of the way at court When he married the daughter of the Duke of Savoy against his father s wishes, the royal army threatened to invade his fiefdom and he had to run for it He spent most of the 1450s as a refugee in Burgundy, getting to know both the old Duke Philip the Good and his feisty son Charles the Bold intimately.After his father s death he took over, but soon enough had to fight his own nobles who did not agree with his rather hands on approach to kingship By the standards of the time, Louis must have been somewhat odd, with his conspicuous lack of gaudy clothes and courtly behavior, his plain talk and zealous work ethic Louis s lack of decorum probably was not very wise, as it seems to have contributed to unnecessarily alienating a lot of nobles A nice side effect of Louis s passion for politicking and intrigue to the reader is that it expands the book s coverage to include events in the Empire the competition over the Burgundian inheritance Italy Francesco Sforza was a staunch ally of Louis and England this was the time of the Wars of the Roses and the writer is a specialist in late medieval English history Interactions with Castile and Aragon are described in much less detail.Despite learning a lot about the 15th century, I did not find this a particularly enjoyable read The book may be comprehensive and admirably researched amazing scholarship I could have exclaimed had I been truly happy with this book , and the choice of subject original, but unfortunately the writing is less than captivating.


  2. David Sutherland David Sutherland says:

    At 492 pages long, and with plenty of comprehensive supporting notes attached to each chapter, this is a substantial and weighty piece of scholarly work by Paul Murray Kendall Given that 15th century European history is not noted for its copious supply of original substantive material for scholars, this is indeed an amazing effort to portray the troubled political landscape of France at this time The fragile political situation in England is also carefully woven into the account, as of course the two Kingdoms were very closely linked within the overall context of 15th Century regional and European politics.The big plus of this work is illustrating and explaining the success of Louis XI in bringing a fractured and rebellious Kingdom into a united whole Clearly Louis XI was a very enigmatic King, highly intelligent, with plenty of political sense, and able to mix in with all levels of society in order to achieve his intended aim And of course he succeeds, setting the foundations of the centralised absolute regime which was to last until Louis XVI Of course, the irony of Louis XI s success in building this centralised power house was one of the major reasons for the monarchy s eventual destruction in 1789 For those who have an intimate understanding of French and European history, this irony cannot be missed.There are, however, a couple of reservations Inevitably, the prose is written in an American literary style Nothing wrong with this as such, it s just for those not raised within this literary style you do need to adjust to his style when reading the book Also, and perhaps importantly, there are no supporting maps of the political landscape of 15th Century France This would be helpful in fully appreciating the feudal semi independence of the magnates of France, the consequent fractured nature of French politics, and would emphasise the immensity of Louis XI s task of bringing this rebellious kingdom to heel.These small caveats aside, this book is an undoubtedly masterful and compelling piece of scholarly work, and is highly recommended.


  3. Beth E. Williams Beth E. Williams says:

    Although P.M Kendall is best known today for his biography of Richard III published 1955 those who are interested in the entire period would do well to read this final, authoritative effort by Kendall, who died just two years after its completion It is the culmination of a life spent researching the 15th century and should be widely known and should be reissued So much of what is written today is what I would call popular biography history descriptive padding about castle d cor, excessive details about clothing or food served, toys and games a child would play, all in lieu of time consuming cross referencing research or simply subjectively writing what the sources do not say This approach is closer to cultural studies than it is to biography When the subject gets lost in their own biography something is amiss.Kendall makes no such mistakes, his mastery of his subject and the vicious world he inhabited is laced with both humor and pertinent quotes from contemporaries in the exceptional Prologue Kendall leaves us with could have been Louis motto he was never so dangerous as when he was in danger What Louis said of Francesco Sforza, a fellow political adventurer, applies equally to himself He was never better that when the water was up to his neck, p 30.All the impressive is Kendall s ability to strip away the layers of 19thth century mischaracterization, or as the author quips, a waxworks of horrors a gothic monstrosity p 375 to reveal both the man of his time and yet a political and administrative visionary, Louis came to the throne of a feudal realm racked for a century by invasions, civil strife, popular upheavals, princely ineptitude, plague He handed on to his successors a national monarchy To the twentieth century, perhaps his most startling accomplishment is that as a means of destroying the mortal enemy of his crown, he invented cold war p 30 Before I was a dozen pages in it struck me that Kendall, I think, surprised himself, he truly warmed to his subject and it elevated his prose, his vision, his grasp of events Louis, you must understand, was never one of those people who could easily gain a reader s sympathy He was physically unattractive and as slippery as a weasel The nickname, universal spider, also applies but this was one adept spider, he did not catch himself in his own endless webs of plot and counter plot, lies and manipulation and espionage on a level not previously wielded with such singular tenacity and effectiveness Yes, Louis was riddled with contradictions to our 21st C eyes, he was as medieval as any as the stereotype superstitious , gullible around astrologers and physicians as any simple soul in any of his villages, and yet a man who was done with feudalism, understood finance, maintained relentless expansionist campaigns to secure his incredibly vulnerable boundaries, and formulated a stunning network of informers worthy of any Tudor or Napoleon, ie disguised agents, planted spies amongst monks and even a king s mistress, a master of rumor, misinformation and distortion see ppgs 101 7 for just one tidy example of his method.Kendall has done so much right here that it would take a book to detail all of it so I will break it down and where it suits the review I will add paragraphs in Kendall s words so you can hear something of his voice as does not have a Look Inside feature for this book Sprinkled throughout the biography are pithy summations of persons both minor and major, many of them mortal enemies of Louis, such as the young Charles, count of Charolais, his cousin from the House of Burgundy, and they are key to the reader s absorption of these individuals who would play a variety of roles in Louis life We become witness through these profiles what Louis saw, and remembered he was a connoisseur of human nature from a young age.Consider Kendall s paragraph on Charles, who would be a lifelong adversary to Louis, the Count of Charolais was stockier that his father, with a powerful torso and heavy shoulders He had a shock of black hair, clear blue eyes, and his father s high sensual coloring He had inherited the Duke s temper, too, which he struggled fiercely to master or conceal from boyhood he had thrown himself into all violent games he loved to take to the sea in a storm and defy the elements He jousted fiercely, as if he were a landless squire he drank little wine, and that watered He was adept at chess, composed and played music, and made some use of his father s great library No evidence survives that he experienced delight in being alive From this smoldering Charles we get a shorter and perhaps even effective idea about his father, Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy the wealthiest, most culturally elite of all the French apanages in the 15thC though the Duke never flagged in outward courtesies and though the Dauphin Louis sill made efforts to suit his conduct to the Duke s humor, suspicion and irritations had eroded the links that united them Duke Philip was put off by the simplicity of the Dauphin s manner and the complexity of his thinking both citations from pps 94 5.Wherever possible Kendall uses the best documentation of Louis opinions, from diplomats to his comperes closest advisors to his own daughter, Anne of France, who would marry Pierre de Beaujeu younger brother of the Duke of Bourbon, yet another royal cousin, and some 20 years her senior , of all his children Anne alone had inherited much of her father s intelligence and whom Louis enjoyed calling the least stupid woman in France This could also be translated as the least insane woman in France and before you assume Louis was a hopeless misogynist like the age he lived in it is to this Anne that he entrusted his life s accomplishments, and regency of his only son, the pleasure loving ninny Charles VII until the boy was twenty She would weather the revolt of many nobles who backed her cousin, Louis II duc d Orleans, also young and eager to hold the reins of government as regent It became an intense scramble for power after Louis death in August 1483 through 1488 It is often called La Guerre Folle, the Mad War, and involved an influential group of belligerents who wanted to oust Anne as Regent including the dukes of Brittany, Lorraine, the Prince of Orange, the Count of Angouleme and of all people the long time intimate advisor to Louis, the memorialist Philippe de Commynes , see pps 259, 374, and 363, 373 5 Anne outmaneuvered them all until her brother died at 27, childless despite four children born to his wife Anne of Brittany , and then by French law, saw the throne pass to a male claimant only, and that was Louis XI s second cousin, the same man behind the Mad War, Louis II duc d Orleans in 1498.Kendall also uses the Appendix format to great effect and begins with the excellent question of this aforementioned eye witness Philippe de Commynes veracity in his memoirs Kendall proceeds to provide a very helpful guide to the Rulers and Principal Lords across the Continent and England pp 385 88 and then the best of all, we have 57 pages of Notes, each tied to a specific chapter for easy reference, wherein he just relaxes and fills in a few gaps that the text itself could not support without losing his narrative thread.I particularly liked the back stories of many of the personages in the Notes too lengthy to add to the text itself, for example, meet the Sire de Giac, a blustering, brutal fellow of no capacity After he had poisoned his pregnant wife, Giac wooed the widowed Countess of Tonnere, Louis s godmother as a condition of marriage, the ambitious Countess made him disinherit his children and turn over to her all his goods With the King and the King s purse firmly in his grip, the arrogant favorite rode roughshod over everybody, until he made the mistake of giving the lie direct to Georges de La Tremoille, a lord who had powerful connections and insatiable appetites Giac s wife, tiring of her empty headed husband and attracted by a climber even unscrupulous that Giac, had begun an affair with him in February of 1427, Giac was wrenched from his marital bed by a band of armed men his wife leaping naked form the sheets to save her silver while Giac was quickly condemned to death by a drumhead court and trussed up and cast into a river, Georges de La Tremoille riding his horse on the bank to see him drown P 391, note 1 Yes, the fair widow of Giac readily married La Tremoille, and brought along Giac s ill gotten treasure.Another keen back story concerns Rene, duke d Anjou, Bar, and Lorraine addicted to chivalric display, he had led a cavalry charge against murderous cannon and archer fire at the battle of Bulgneville, 1431, and promptly got himself captured He whiled away his prison hours painting on glass, reading, writing poety, until in 1437, the Duke of Burgundy set his ransom at 400,000 gold crowns and allowed him to sail for the Kingdom of Naples, which was under attack from Alfonso V, King of Aragon, another claimant to that realm p 393, note 1 Presumably good Rene of Anjou was cured of his chivalric addiction by the time he pursued his erstwhile kingdom of Naples.Lastly Kendall provides a luscious, copious Bibliography, a treasure trove of material, primarily French sources but nonetheless vital, some of the authors may even be familiar to English speaking readers In an age of knocked out scholarly histories usually dripping with bias or trendy biographies slim on research but chock full of descriptive nuisance details about furniture and folk songs and such that the subject MIGHT have heard or seen or used do yourself a favor and sit down with Kendall, he took on one of the most difficult of all 15thC maybe of all French rulers and allowed a modern audience to see a modern man, which is controversial all on its own, as Louis was a precursor and one of the shapers of the modern world and with the modern world we have grown somewhat disenchanted p 375 And Kendall wrote this in 1971, how would he assess our modern world as it is in 2015


  4. Sir Butternut Longsword Sir Butternut Longsword says:

    I am an avid fan of Paul Murray Kendall I bought this because of him rather than the subject, but came away satisfied on both accounts I first read Kendalls Richard III, then purchased his Kingmaker I adore his prose, beautiful and readable and, as his detractors may say, a bit much for history, but isnt that a good thing This is the antithesis of the Monarch Series stale opium laden toast.Surprisingly, there aren t many books out there on French Royalty, specifically books based on individual kings like there are for their English brothers, but, as Kendall writes, Louis XI was the wizard of the age He outmaneuver his English rivals, absorbed Burgundy, and was master of the european stage.He bought out Edward till Burgundy submitted, then discarded with the Yorks like they were yesterdays news, which they became He didnt care for the pomp and triviality of other courts, but that was his most dangerous weapon, his ability to be underappreciated.OF THE HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION.


  5. robert sklenar robert sklenar says:

    Met my expectations


  6. sable wright sable wright says:

    Excellent book A joy to read.


  7. butch butch says:

    This was a fantastic book As usual, put together with a lot of effort by an author who is famous and in my mind an excellent presenter of the 15th century era s politics and personalities Lots of background for better understanding who did what to whom and why


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