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The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  293 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A major biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who, at age nineteen, volunteered to fight under George Washington; a biography that looks past the storybook hero and selfless champion of righteous causes who cast aside family and fortune to advance the transcendent aims of liberty and justice commemorated in America’s towns, streets, ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published October 14th 2014 by Knopf (first published October 1st 2014)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  293 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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*3.5 stars, mostly because the only other book I read about Lafayette focused on his time in America, and this was mainly about his time in France after the American Revolution.

I'm very conflicted about this book, because while it was interesting, I found Auricchio's writing to be a little distant. I understand that this was a strict focus on Lafayette, but I was expecting at least a little about the relationships he had throughout his life. While Auricchio does touch on the relationships he for
Andy Miller
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
This new biography of Lafayette reminds us that France as well as America remember Lafayette mainly for his role in America's revolutionary war and not for his subsequent role in the French Revolution, but it was that part of this biography that interested me most

Auricchio's biography does recount Lafayette in America, how he overcame American skepticism that we was simply another Frenchman seeking glory or financial reward by showing a sincere commitment to the ideals of American democracy--tho
Despite his fame, Marquis de La Fayette gets barely a mention in the (few) books I read on the French Revolution. Two mentions in the same book can be contradictory. Author Laura Auricchio explains the contradiction. While book's thesis mostly concerns the interpretation of La Fayette's role in the French Revolution, the by-product is a pretty decent biography.

At a young age he suddenly became one of the richest men in France but his status in the lower nobility did not match his wealth. He was
Stephanie Hiddleston
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The French Revolution was a complicated time and Lafayette was a complicated man. People like simple stories; simple stories get remembered. Lafayette's story isn't simple."

Americas favourite fighting frenchman wird hier sehr gut dargestellt.
Es ist ein bisschen zu sehr auf nur seine Sicht bezogen, gerne hätte ich zb mehr über seiner Frau Adrienne erfahren, welche anscheinend großartig war, aber vieles was ich nicht wusste wurde hier einfach und klar dargelegt.
Hoffentlich bekommt Lafayette dadur
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fascinating, but I'd like to know more about his wife, Adrienne, who seemed to be managing the children, the finances, the properties without help while the Marquis followed his dreams of glory around Europe and America.
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Halfway through “Lafayette Reconsidered,” I found myself wishing the author had selected a different title. “Lafayette: A Revolutionary Man” would have been a more apt description of Auricchio’s book, as the subject split into two distinct parts: (1) Lafayette’s role in the American Revolution and (2) Lafayette’s role in the French Revolution. Auricchio handled both with aplomb and intrigue, but the publisher’s description left me with different expectations than what I actually found in the boo ...more
Tex Reader
4.0 of 5 stars – An Enlightening Chronicle of an Adopted Amercian Hero.
(I'm excited to have won this as a Goodreads First Read – so thanks, Knopf!)

I love history and bios, particularly those of the American revolution, but I haven’t yet read one devoted to this intriguing foreign "founding father." I’ve read a number of bios of American revolutionary figures (Washington, J.Adams (my personal fav), Jefferson, Franklin) and latter day prezes (Jackson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman), as well as
Dan Dundon
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I asked myself before picking up this biography whether I really wanted to devote a substantial amount of time to learning about a French citizen who helped George Washington during the American Revolution. The introduction by author Laura Auricchio was interesting enough that I decided to plow into it. I'm very glad I did and not because I learned startling new information regarding the American Revolution. I had known the basic outline of Lafayette's contribution to the American Revolution fro ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly loved this book. I learned and re-learned so much from it, both about its subject and about the history of the time, and in particular, the turmoil of the French Revolution. Lafayette's indomitable spirit and idealism pervaded the telling, and I marveled at his persistence and refusal to let go of his views, his hopes, and his ambitions. Far from being a perfect character (which Auricchio presented unflinchingly) he nevertheless seems to have fought for what he believed all his life. I'm ...more
Mary Adams
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Genre: History (non-fiction)
Heat level: Spicy (The French Revolution was most definitely R-rated at the very least!)

Earlier this week, my hairdresser asked me where I get my ideas from. I know plenty of other authors who gain inspiration by reading novels in their own genre. I get mine from the history books. Truth is, history is often more unbelievable than fiction, and in the hands of a good writer, it really comes alive.

The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio (@Auricchio_Laura)
Ezra Marcel
I’m fairly new to nonfiction and biographies, but my recently-kindled love of the American Revolution (thanks, LMM) has caused me to dive into them headfirst. I was really looking forward to this one as it was following on the tail of another Lafayette biography and I was interested in seeing how the two compared, but I was a bit disappointed.

This one was pointedly drier than the one I read previously, which seems like it would be difficult to pull off, Lafayette’s life having been so interesti
Tim Brown
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
The writing quality is wonderful, and the book is a breeze to get through, a nice quality in academic facing biography. The Marquis has an incredible and winding life and Auricchio does a great job at giving it personal character and stakes, making for a very entertaining read.

It is also, though, not an impartial take on the man or his legacy. Strictly speaking, this is not a problem (no "objective" work can ever be so, and she's fairly clear with her perspective from her title alone), but it be
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exhaustive but readable biography

The musical Hamilton has kindled my interest in the figures of the Revolutionary War and early American republic, so I knew I had to read more about “America’s favorite founding Frenchman”. This book is an excellent resource - it covers his life in detail but not mind-numbing detail. The prose is engaging and relatively light.

There is a lot more to the character of Lafayette than could be captured in a Broadway play. Although Lafayette was steadfast in his p
Rose Alexander
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. I felt she went into more detail regarding his childhood in Auvergne and Paris than I have seen in any other historical biography of him. I would, however, not recommend this book for people who have never before read anything on the Marquis de Lafayette. As the title of the work suggests, she is "reconsidering" the historical figure, and therefore a reader should probably have some prior background knowledge on the man. For example, she does not delve too deeply into L ...more
Erin Scott
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I picked this book up since I wanted to see how accurate some of the songs from Hamilton are and was pleasantly surprised at how interesting the rest of the book was.

Obsessed with honour and renown, Lafayette was the hero of two worlds and one of the most beloved stars of early America. He was very close to the king during the French revolution and, amazingly, left that struggle with his head in tact.

Like Washington and Cincinatus before him, he retired from public life to tend his garden.
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting look at Lafayette's legacy in both American and France. Auricchio follows his life from birth to death, with primary focus on the American Revolution and French Revolution. Lafayette seems often to waver in his feelings and struggle to fulfill his obligations and persona. Appreciated that she was able to keep the book below 500 pages, a feat of true control over subject for a historian.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
His early life gets almost no treatment, his role in the American Revolution some, and his time in France, though discussed, is more a lesson in the events than his life. I will keep an eye open for a more thorough biography, although I was happy to fill in many aspects of an American hero.
Mitch Randall
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a really good description of the Marquis.
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very well written and primarily centered upon Lafayette's role in the French Revolution which is what I was seeking. A lot of questions remain unanswered.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book. The author is a scholar of 18th century French history and art, and can speak to the different factions and propaganda organs that were active during the French Revolution.
Lynn Schwartz
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
More than I really wanted to know about the Marquis! really for history buffs and especially Lafayette enthusiasts!
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great read, learned so much about Lafayette that I did not know. Such an incredible life story, lived through, and contributed to 2 revolutions and yet not as celebrated in France. So glad his story continues to be told. ...more
Jim Gallen
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lafayette was the young French nobleman who aided America’s War of Independence and the aged hero who returned in triumph to tour the nation he helped establish, but is that the whole story? Of course it is not and “The Marquis” tells the rest of it. Author Laura Auricchio raises the question of why Lafayette is so remembered in his adopted country of America and almost forgotten in his native France. Her work helps us form our own answer.

Lafayette was a young and wealthy member of the minor no
Steve Spence
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A very enjoyable read. Intriguing and good paced with lots of background information of the time period and political/social situations Lafayette found himself in. I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would.
Meredith Allady
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Confession: I've never before read a full-length bio of Lafayette, so have really nothing to compare this to, but it's hard to see how I could have picked a better one to start with. Having previously met the man only in the context of his service to the fledgling U.S., it was great to see him firmly established in the European world from which he sprang, and to which his heart belonged, even when France itself failed to appreciate him.
I liked many things about this book--the fact that it laid
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Marquis de la Fayette is perhaps the most-loved Frenchman in American history. (In fact, I don't even know who his competition would be.) This book covers his entire life, focusing on his participation in the events of the French Revolution. He was incredibly young as a major general in the American Revolution--barely 20. His role in our revolution might not be as big as you think, although he was helpful in pinching Cornwallis into Yorktown in 1781.

His involvement in the French Revolution w
Ebster Davis
Apr 23, 2016 rated it liked it

"He never abandoned the belief that he could change the world. And he never despaired of success. of all his accomplishments, these might be the most extraordinary."

I've been listening to this as an audiobook for a while. I told myself I'd listen to one CD a day before bed and I'd be finished with the book in 11 days. Unfortunately I kept falling asleep in the middle of a CD, and because it's ripped (not an actually physical CD) I'd forget where I left off.


I'd just start over.

I listen
Jan 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I was brought to tears by the end of this biography. It is so beautifully written and expertly told, capturing the adventure and drama of the Marquis's long and eventful life. The author shows Lafayette's transition from an awkward teenager out of place in the court of Versailles to an ambitious young soldier risking his fortune, title, and life to fight for liberty in the American Revolution, even when his strict in-laws and King of France ordered him not to. At 19, he ignored all of their comm ...more
James Spurgeon
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the US, we have great esteem for the Marquis de Lafayette. He is our last true night. He came to fight for our ideals and our glorious cause. But in France, he is barely remembered at all. Mostly because the French Revolution got out of hand and away from what he originally wanted. Americans see him as brave and a man with enlightened ideals, but he was also quite naive which we see more with his actions (and inactions) during the French Revolution. There were many times where he let the idea ...more
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a first-rate biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, one that I recommend to anyone interested in either the history of the American Revolution, or France. Laura Auricchio spent seven years researching and writing this book, and it shows. She handles the convoluted politics of the American Revolution with aplomb, and is equally good at the intricacies of the court of Louis XVI. In fact, I was reminded of Simon Schama's wonderful narrative history of the French Revolution, "Citizens," whic ...more
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A.Ham Book Club: Chapter 20 7 10 Oct 25, 2017 07:29AM  
A.Ham Book Club: Chapters 18 & 19 4 8 Sep 17, 2017 11:20AM  
A.Ham Book Club: Chapters 16 & 17 4 8 Sep 11, 2017 07:42AM  
A.Ham Book Club: Chapters 14 & 15 4 6 Sep 04, 2017 09:01AM  
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A.Ham Book Club: Chapters 8 & 9 6 6 Aug 23, 2017 09:02PM  
A.Ham Book Club: Chapters 6 & 7 5 7 Aug 08, 2017 04:41PM  
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