Philip ManselMar 3, 2021
King of the World
The Life of Louis XIV
University of Chicago Press 2019
Philip Mansel, a trustee of the Society for Court Studies and President of the Research Center of the Chateau de Versailles, has written a one-volume biography of the life and times of Louis XIV, King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV (The University of Chicago Press, 2019).
One of the longest reigning monarchs in Europe’s history, from 1643 to 1715, Louis XIV left a mark upon France for good and ill. He expanded the country’s borders but left it in horrible financial shape. He was a valuable patron of the arts and architecture, but wreaked havoc on some of his nation’s citizens, especially French Protestants.
He reaped the glory associated with imperial policy and dynastic intermarriages throughout Europe, but brought destruction to the lives, fortunes, and cities of his enemies. Mansel brings the court of Louis XIV alive, paying special attention to the daily personal life of the king and his associates. He reviews France’s effects on the politics of Europe and provides a detailed history of the key project of Louis’ life: the palace of Versailles.
Ian J. Drake is Associate Professor of Jurisprudence, Montclair State University.