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Madame du Barry: The Wages of Beauty

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  200 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Born the illegitimate daughter of a monk and a seamstress, Madame du Barry rose from poverty to become one of the most powerful and wealthy women of France. A courtesan, she became Louis XV's official mistress and was fêted as one of France's most beautiful women. On Louis XV's death she became vulnerable to those secretly longing for her downfall. Marie Antoinette had her ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 6th 2005 by Tauris Parke Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1991)
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3.91  · 
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 ·  200 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Jul 29, 2011 added it
While I found the content and writing enjoyable, my studies in history have made me wary of authors who do not cite within their work. Although there was a bibliography, the author did not cite quotes throughout the text. She appears to have used many primary sources, but without citations it's hard to evaluate objectivity.
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Who doesn't love a story involving a rags to riches, a makeover segment, sex, rich people, and decorating.
Following my current interest with the time just before and just after the French Revolution, I chose this book, because Madame du Barry was not a noble, and didn't actually influence history that much, so I was hoping for a fresh perspective on the epoque.

The book is written in a dry narrative style with little reference to source material. Jeanne's early life is spent as that of the daughter of a rich man's second mistress. Her mother eventually sells her into sexual bondage to a well-placed p
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
I just started reading the book a few days ago but what got me a bit confused about the facts is the D.O.B. In the book, it says she was baptized on April 1743 but when I do a search on the internet about Madame Du Barry, its seems that her D.O.B. was recorded on August 1743.
At first I thought it was just a mistake Wikipedia made but after reading several websites with details on Du Barry, I came to the conclusion that maybe the author made a mistake...? Please correct me if I am wrong. I know
Sylvia Zedler
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sehr unterhaltsam
Sep 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
I became intrigued by the persona of Madame du Barry after watching the movie Marie Antoinette (the one with Kirsten Dunst), where she was portrayed as crass, uncultured and completely unlikeable. Joan Haslip has done an excellent job of dispelling that mischaracterization for me. The book is a quick read and is in the end a rather tragic story of a woman who was able to use her natural beauty to eventually achieve incredible wealth.

Although du Barry was manipulated by the men in her life and b
Jul 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Well done, but the author has an exasperating attachment to her subject. I often questioned the veracity of her statements, which I rarely do when reading historical biographies. Her description of the revolution is very one sided, with bread shortages and ill-will toward the monarchy all due to the scheming of villians like the Duc D'Orleans. She often describes the people as monarchists at heart, and of course all of the people on Du Barry's estate loved her and were loyal to her. The author a ...more
Christine Cazeneuve
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Enjoyed this book very much. As my only opinion of Madame du Barry has been from Hollywood movies, she never comes to be anything but a despised woman. She was born in undesirable circumstances and did what she had to do to survive and then achieved a position that was envied and hated by many. She was always kind to those in need and to those she called friends. Through this book I certainly have a different opinion of her. Easy reading and quick too!
Jan 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Madame du Barry (1792-1793) was the royal mistress to King Louis XV. Smashing (apocryphal?) details make it an animated, fast read. Explains the atmosphere of french court and the logistics of Versailles and later the early stages of the Revolution: the September riots and later Reign of Terror.
Mary Newcomb
Anyone reading this is familiar with how difficult it is to be beautiful. This was especially true in the time of Mme DuBarry. I knew she was a courtesan but had no idea how lengthy and infamous her career was. What a sad end to an ornamental and kind woman.

Aug 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Not nearly as good as the other biographies I have read lately. The writing style was too dry; too many generalizations.
Jul 30, 2009 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
First American Edition 1992
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Really rounded out the story of La du Barry
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Joan Haslip was an author of historical books, often focusing on European royalty. She was born in London and educated in London, Paris and Florence. Her first book, Out of Focus, appeared in 1931; among her other notable publications are Lady Hester Stanhope (1934) and Parnell (1937). She also wrote for the London Mercury, the Daily Mail and Evening News, and the Illustrated London News.
She also