Marie Antoinette: The Journey
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Marie Antoinette: The Journey

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  19,717 ratings  ·  809 reviews
France�s beleaguered queen, Marie Antoinette, wrongly accused of uttering the infamous �Let them eat cake,� was the subject of ridicule and curiosity even before her death; she has since been the object of debate and speculation and the fascination so often accorded tragic figures in history. Married in mere girlhood, this essentially lighthearted, privileged, but ot...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published November 12th 2002 by Anchor (first published 2001)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
K.D. Absolutely
Next Saturday, October 16th will be her 217th Death Anniversary. On that same day, 217 years ago, Marie Antoinette or Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna (1755-1793) was executed by guillotine. She was convicted of treason. Nine months prior to that her husband, King Louis XIV was executed. These all happened at the height of the French Revolution (1789-1799).

Marie Antoinette was a victim from birth to death. Her marriage to King Louis XIV was a move to forge alliances among the warring countries incl...more
Jane Vandre
Sep 02, 2007 Jane Vandre rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History Buffs
As a former French major in college, I really enjoyed this book and learned so much about this period of time and the dynamics of the monarchy in France. While at times it was difficult to keep all the characters straight since they had multiple names/titles, I found that the overall narrative was compelling. Most people today have little sympathy for this queen, but I came away from this book with a much altered impression of her character and personality. She was truly in an impossible positio...more
Elena
My copy of Lady Antonia Fraser's "Marie-Antoinette, The Journey" (Anchor Books, 2002) sports on its cover the round face of Kirsten Dunst which, as anyone who has studied portraits of Marie-Antoinette knows, is in sharp contrast to the lovely oval countenance of the real queen. I found it annoying, at first. However, while reading the international best seller, I came to see the photo from the Coppola film as suitable for a book which, at times, sacrifices historical exegesis to the demands of p...more
Tatiana
Apr 06, 2010 Tatiana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of history and biographies of royals
Shelves: 2010, non-fiction
I am not a history buff, so it's hard for me to judge if this book is historically accurate. What I can attest to is that Antonia Fraser knows how to write a very engaging non-fictional narrative. And from my limited experience with non-fiction, it is a hard thing to do.

"Marie Antoinette" doesn't appear to be an overly objective book, the tone of it is very involved and I guess that's what makes it so readable. Fraser paints a very sympathetic portrait of Marie Antoinette, who at some point in...more
Harriet
This was a good for a beach-ready kind of history. Fraser's good in terms of readability, but she bends over backwards to explain how Antoinette was misunderstood without really coming to terms with the complexity of her public face. I would have liked more footnotes, although I'm probalby not the target audience in that regard. I REALLY would have liked some more editing, not just in terms of overall repetitiousness, but in terms of readability. Fraser writes engagingly and well most of the tim...more
Cassie
LOVE LOVE LOVE. This book took me a while to get through because of Mrs. Fraser's dense style of writing but also because I tried to savor each moment of this biography. Somehow Antonia Fraser writes in a no nonsense way yet allows the reader to hear the music, and the swish of Marie Antoinette's skirts as she walked through Versailles. This book takes the reader on a journey through an incredible life, causing me to laugh, cry and at one point throw the book I was so incensed at the injustices...more
Megan Medley
I have a slight fascination with Marie Antoinette. She is what led me to study the French Revolution whe I did my minor in History. While in Paris, I wanted to visit everything related to her, and when anything on the History Channel comes on about the French Rev., I must watch it. She is probably one of the most misunderstood monarchs. I suppose it's unjust of me to sympathize with her, but she too, was just a girl. Married at 14 to a prince who knew nothing about how to rule a kingdom. Forced...more
Ana Mardoll
Marie Antoinette / 0-385-48949-8

I love reading and learning about Marie Antoinette as a historical figure - she had such a fascinating life, and was such an interesting person - but I could not have been more disappointed with this book. I'm really surprised that it has so many high ratings, so take my review with a grain of salt, but I just found this book to be a complete chore to wade through.

It's really frustrating to see Fraser take such a fascinating historical figure and rob her of all in...more
Jennifer
Not only does Antonia Frasier dispell the rumor that Marie Antoinette ever uttered “let them eat cake” when told that the French were starved for bread, she gives a fuller picture of the queen that shows her more than just an extravagant self-involved royal out-of-touch with reality. Frasier packs in gossipy details that keep this from being a dry read.
Marie Antoinette is born to be a pawn in her mother’s (Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa) bid to expand Hapsburg power and influence. At the age of...more
Alison
I enjoyed this quite a bit. I haven't read anything else about Marie Antoinette, but I felt that Fraser did a good job of telling "Marie Antoinette's dramatic story without anticipating its terrible ending," as she writes in the author's note. Here and there she mentions that something will have greater consequences in the future, but she does so in a straightforward manner, with no melodrama.

Much as is the case with Alison Weir's "Six Wives of Henry VIII," Fraser has produced a deeply-research...more
Madeline
This book was one of Sofia Coppola's primary sources for her movie "Marie Antoinette" and anyone who's seen the movie will enjoy finding all the quotes used in the movie that the historical figures actually said. It's a good biography and, unlike Coppola's movie, actually tells you what happened to Marie-Antoinette and her family after the mob arrested them and brought them to Paris. Fraser goes a little out of her way to portray Marie-Antoinette as just a misunderstood but good-hearted person (...more
Amanda
Aug 28, 2008 Amanda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of history
Recommended to Amanda by: the movie
Three stars for a very well written biography, but minus two for the difficulty in user[reader] friendliness. I don't think I would've read this whole thing if it wasn't so darned interesting to me. It has alot of very difficult words/wording because (in my opinion) it was written by a famous historian rather than a great 'writer' if you will. It's loaded with historical facts about what we know of Marie Antoinette the person, which is extremely interesting especially since she lead such an inte...more
Kaye
After visiting Paris and Versailles this summer I wanted to learn more about the history of France and in particularly Marie Antoinette. This book tells the story of a 15 year old Marie Antoinette who is wed for political reasons to the French Dauphin. Neither are well educated or prepared to become King and Queen at early ages. Fraser is a detailed historian and particularly in the first half, explained how she came to conclusions about very intimate parts of life at Versailles. There are many...more
Kelly
This is my kind of history. If those shows on the history channel about medieval weapons are history for boys, this is history for the girlies. It feels like reading an 18th century tabloid. In a really good way. I could not put it down, not even to brush my hair. (I needed one of Marie's famous horse-hair wigs). I loved the politics, the history, and Frasier's analysis, artfully dotted with details about the cut and fabric of her gowns, the food on her table, and the horribly wacky rules of lif...more
Anne
Although it took me so long to read it that I had to pay tremendous fines at the library (ahem...) I did enjoy this book and a better understanding of Marie Antoinette. I certainly learned a lot about Marie Antoinette and the French Court and Revolution, and I liked that it was easy to read but not sensationalized.

I was disappointed, though, that Antonia Fraser, rather than simply writing about Marie Antoinette's life, projected across her views of Marie Antoinette through her writing, forcing...more
Brittany B.
Really great biography, just a lot of info. A LOT OF INFO!! It is not easy to finish, nor to keep focused on the material. Antonia Frasier is remarkable and was obviously dedicated to her work.

I had incentive: I planned to watch the movie that was inspired by this biography, if I could finish the book.


So on Christmas Eve, I watched Marie Antionette. The movie was a tiny fraction of the book. Copolla has such a great vision, and followed the book really well. I only wish the movie had been an...more
Caroline
It is always the sign of a good book when you find yourself slowing down upon nearing the end instead of speeding up, reluctant to come to a close. All the more so when the book is the story of a life and, in slowing down, you somehow try to put off the inevitable death at the end. I definitely found that with this excellent biography of Marie Antoinette; knowing her fate from the outset I still found myself dreading the last few pages, utterly engrossed in this fascinating personality.

From the...more
Karleen Koen
I am not a Marie A. fan, but I picked up this because I think the world of Fraser's writing and presentation of history. And once again, she didn't fail me, and I ended up with more compassion for the French queen than I had had reading other histories. Fraser can write!
Conor Byrne
Before reading this book I knew very little about the doomed queen, Marie Antoinette. I have to confess that, while seriously doubting that she ever made the notorious comment 'let them eat cake' (something, by the way, completely unrelated to her), I had viewed her in my mind as a frivolous, pleasure-loving, essentially none too bright woman who happened to become Queen of France, enjoy a reign of said frivolity and pleasures which covered a turbulent marriage and disastrous relationship with h...more
Martine Bailey
Having very much enjoyed Antonia Fraser’s biography, The Life and Loves of Louis XIV I was very keen to read this. I found the opening stunning – who can forget images of the young Arch-Duchesses sleighing in furs and diamonds by torchlight? But the character of under-educated Antoine, eager to please and traded for alliances by her mother Maria Therese, becomes increasingly poignant. Once Antoine arrives in France as the teenage bride of fat and awkward Louis the truth is ever more disturbing....more
Miri
Marie Antoinette: The Journey is a biography of the famous French queen starting with her birth in 1755, her childhood in the Viennese court of her mother the Holy Roman Empress, her frivolous youth at Versailles and tragic death at the hands of the Revolution in 1793. In between them lies the forgotten period of the happy wife and mother.

I’ve been reading Fraser’s book on and off for some years now without ever finishing it. I could never quite face Marie-Antoinette’s grim fate and always prefe...more
Jo
What a treat! I love the work of Antonia Fraser and I've been looking forward to reading her take on Marie Antoinette, one of the most misunderstood figures in Western History. This biography tracks indeed the journey of a fourteen year old girl-bride, uprooted from her home and landed in a foreign court where she was viewed with suspicion and prejudice, to her rise to a position of authority without power, as the consort to the king of France in the most challenging of times, to her demise on t...more
Socraticgadfly
Very good book. I've never read a bio of her before, nor an extended history of France at the end of the ancien regime. I knew that she probably had never said "let them eat cake"; I didn't know that it was a "commonplace saying" put on the lips of other royals already nearly a century earlier. Beyond tidbits of learning like that, there's real history and biography alike.

Fraser gives a good profile of Marie as a person, first of all. That includes detailing her personal development as Dauphine,...more
Lynne-marie
I have already proclaimed my admiration for Fraser; I will not reiderate that here. It is far too easy from the public viewpoint to have a simplistic picture of Marie Antoinette and her life & death. Fraser documents the more complex interlocking facts of her life: hated from the first by the people of France as an alien pawn of her mother Maria Theresa's Habsburg Empire, Maria enjoyed a brief period of popularity and then fell again into deeper and deeper disrepute in France. She, herself,...more
Nina
May 24, 2011 Nina added it
I've got to admit with all the things we have heard about Marie Antoinette through History, it was always with an unsympathetic edge - indicating that both she and Louis deserved their decapitation. Most of us know her for being extravagent and for the saying - let them eat cake - which according to this book by Antonia Fraser, was never her saying. This is a sympathetic view of the trials and tribulations of one of France's most well recognised historical figures. I enjoyed reading it and have...more
Darkpool (protesting GR censorship)
I really knew very little about Marie Antoinette - only that which has become part of western cultural knowledge - before listening to this book. I feel much better informed now, and feel a great sense of injustice for the way she was treated. The audiobook treatment suffered for not having the footnoted translations of numerous non-English phrases that apparently appear in the print version, so at times the point that the author was trying to make was lost on me. That aside I found the style of...more
Aaron Meier
this biography sets the record straight on the Marie Antoinette that is part of folk legend and myth. Fraser makes her more a product of family ambition, circumstance, and just plain bad timing. Very thoroughly researched, but still very easy to read.

My only quibble is that Fraser doesn't set Marie Antoinette in the context of the social/political landscape of 18th century France. This is unfortunate, given how much Fraser tries to say was beyond her subject's control.

Still, a very digestable b...more
Emily
I found my way to this book through the Sofia Coppola film, which we watched on our cruise of the Seine this summer after visiting Versailles. In Fraser's balanced hand, it was easy to empathize with the young queen and her husband--their fumbling attempts at intimacy, the children they lost, the betrayal they experienced, and the grace with which they met their deaths. For me, the book excelled as a portrait of an arranged marriage that somehow found its footing against impossible odds.
Aposprout
I really enjoyed this book. Fraser does a good job of recounting the life of Marie Antoinette and conveying her character. To be honest, I knew little of her or of the French Revolution. So much of her life was heart-wrenching and tragic.

Fraser was clear about distinguishing fact from speculation and supposition - even where one could reliably assume something she was clear it was not provable. I appreciated that.

Overall a really interesting and engaging read.
sera
Jul 06, 2007 sera rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history buffs, feminist readers

I love Antonia Fraiser's writing style; she makes history fun. This book was very entertaining, easy reading.

I picked it up after visiting Versailles in March---it's the kind of place you want to know more about. I did also see Sofia Coppola's movie, based on this book. I have to say: read the book. You will find that Marie Anoinette's life was much more than cakes and shoes (although I for one did enjoy the flights of New Order and little dogs in Sofia's rendition).
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Imprinted Lives: ...: Marie Antoinette: The Journey. Antonia Fraser 4 12 Oct 01, 2013 09:59AM  
The 1700-1939 Boo...: Marie Antoinette 3 20 May 17, 2011 11:45PM  
  • Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution
  • Marie-Thérèse, Child of Terror: The Fate of Marie Antoinette's Daughter
  • Madame de Pompadour: A Life
  • The Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murdered Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
  • Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
  • To the Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette
  • The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
  • Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France
  • Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe
  • Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III
  • The Life of Elizabeth I
  • Athenais: The Life of Louis XIV's Mistress, the Real Queen  Of France
  • Madame de Pompadour: Mistress of France
  • Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII
  • Bess of Hardwick: First Lady of Chatsworth, 1527-1608
  • Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria
  • Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832
  • Privilege and Scandal: The Remarkable Life of Harriet Spencer, Sister of Georgiana
6582
Lady Antonia Fraser (Pinter), CBE, is a British author of history and novels, best known as Antonia Fraser for writing biographies and detective fiction, and the second wife of Harold Pinter, the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature.

Series:
* Jemima Shore
More about Antonia Fraser...
The Wives of Henry VIII Mary Queen of Scots Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King The Warrior Queens The Weaker Vessel

Share This Book

“I have seen all, I have heard all, I have forgotten all. marie antoinette” 18 likes
“As the Dauphine stepped out of her carriage on to the ceremonial carpet that had been laid down, it was the Duc de Choiseul who was given the privilege of the first salute. Presented with the Duc by Prince Starhemberg, Marie Antoinette exclaimed: 'I shall never forget that you are responsible for my happiness!” 6 likes
More quotes…