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Search for the Man in the Ironcb: A Historical Detective Story

2.84  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  15 reviews
The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask triumphantly solves an enduring puzzle that has stumped historians for centuries and seduced novelists and filmmakers to this day. Who was the man who was rumored to have been kept in prison and treated royally during much of the reign of Louis XIV while being forced to wear an iron mask? Could he possibly have been the twin brother ...more
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published January 7th 2016 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published January 6th 2016)
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2.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  32 ratings  ·  15 reviews


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Erin
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask by Paul Sonnino is a fascinating historic piece that illuminates one of the great mysteries in French history. It's fact heavy, but it is written in such a way that the reader is not overwhelmed. On the contrary, Sonnino's text teases the reader's mind and plays on their curiosity, it draws them in making it impossible to put the book aside. Highly recommended.
Bandit
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You're probably familiar with the story. Maybe you've read Dumas' book, most likely you've seen one of the cinematic adaptations. The prevailing pop culture theory is that it was the identical twin brother of King Louis XIV. Not so fast, Sonnino alleges to have solved the historical mystery and the identity of the man is...Eustache Daunger, a docile, possibly gay, valet, who had the sad fortune of becoming privy to the secrets and intrigues of the court, particularly of the sordid financial natu ...more
Krissys
Jan 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: featured-books, star
The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask triumphantly solves an enduring puzzle that has stumped historians for centuries and seduced novelists and filmmakers to this day. Who was the man who was rumored to have been kept in prison and treated royally during much of the reign of Louis XIV while being forced to wear an iron mask? Could he possibly have been the twin brother of the Sun King? Like every other serious scholar, intrepid historian Paul Sonnino discounts this theory, instead taking the ...more
nikkia neil
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks Rowman & Littlefield and netgalley for ARC.

Very academic yet funny too. I learned a lot and liked Paul Sonnino's style.
David
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
The staggering amount of characters here will eventually beat you down and l leave you asking how much you care about the conclusion. I started strong, but only made it halfway before succumbing.
Misty
Dec 11, 2018 rated it did not like it
This is mostly a list of names and unsubstantiated suppositions. Weak, but with pretensions.
Lisa
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am not that familiar with French history, and I’ve probably spent less than a total of 48 hours in France. But even I have heard of the mystery of the man in the iron mask. He is the anonymous prisoner held captive by Louis XIV for 34 years and forced to wear a mask. During that time, no one saw his face or heard him say his name. Many books have been written about the man in the iron mask, but historians have never agreed on his identity.

Paul Sonnino, French historian and professor of history
...more
David
May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a terrible book about a most fascinating subject. What could have been a riveting journey down the road to discovery is instead a confused mess of real facts, some dubious ones, and a great deal of supposition that arrives at a highly questionable conclusion.

The author, ostensibly an academic historian of some distinction, dances from name to name and fact to fact with an abandon that is only outmatched by his vertiginous leaps of dubious deduction, backed with a few facts, a great deal
...more
Judith
Mar 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Having read Dumas' novel in which this masked man appears, I had to read this book. I'll try not to reveal any spoilers. Sonnino is one of the leading historians of this period and this book shows just how much research a historian needs to do to track down all evidence--and there is a lot of it, in many archives, museums, libraries. But also he needs to have a firm grasp of the politics, social relationships, and psychology of individuals. As part of the preface he gives a list of dramatis pers ...more
Heather
Dec 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I went into this book knowing almost nothing about the story of the Man in the Iron Mask (no, I never even saw the movie) or the world in which he lived. Paul's writing was approachable and great for an 'Iron Mask' novice such as myself. The only problem I had though, was that I had to go back and reread quite a few sections to try and keep the people straight. There were a *lot* of people in this book to keep track of and I felt that sometimes they got muddled. But all in all an interested read ...more
Tabby Shiflett
3.5 Stars
4 Stars-because of the daunting research included in a organized book on a popular and intriguing historical mystery.
3 Stars-again, because of the exhaustive research in this book, sometimes the facts and information become overwhelming.
The writing style makes it easier to wade through all the details and the subject matter is so interesting that the reader will stay on til the end. If it starts to feel like a textbook, just take a break and come back to it. You won't regret it. For h
...more
Krista
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I love a good historical mystery, and "The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask" looks at one of the most famous French ones. The good is that this subject has been crying for extended treatment. The bad here is that the author's style just wasn't dynamic enough to sustain my interest. As an academic piece, I wasn't convinced of the argument of the work, and as popular history, I didn't find the narrative sufficiently engaging for the general public.
Margaret Sholders
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been curious about this story. I am not really up with the French Revolution. I know names but not really who did what. I find that there are a lot of different thoughts on who he was. At first this book throws you for a loop but then it settles down. I am glad I read this story. I am still curious but I am glad to know there really was such a person! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
Margaret Sankey
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Sonnino uses his considerable knowledge of 17th century France to go all-in on the Eustache Dauger theory of the Man in the Iron Mask. The problem is one of audience--if a reader actually needed the exhaustive background on all the other theories and context, that reader would probably not be interested in solving this mystery in the first place.
Amy
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Search for the Man in the Iron Mask is a fascinating read. To me, it was somewhat hard to red at times and I had to put it down for a bit. I did mostly enjoy the book and would give it 4 stars.
Stacey
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