• Improbable Patriot

  • The Secret History of Monsieur de Beaumarchais, the French Playwright Who Saved the American Revolution
  • By: Harlow Giles Unger
  • Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
  • Length: 8 hrs and 3 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Improbable Patriot  By  cover art

Improbable Patriot

By: Harlow Giles Unger
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
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Publisher's Summary

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was an 18th-century French inventor, famed playwright, and upstart near-aristocrat in the court of King Louis XVI. In 1776, he conceived an audacious plan to send aid to the American rebels. What's more, he convinced the king to bankroll the project, and singlehandedly carried it out. By war's end, he had supplied Washington's army with most of its weapons and powder, though he was never paid or acknowledged by the United States.

To some, he was a dashing hero - a towering intellect who saved the American Revolution. To others, he was pure rogue - a double-dealing adventurer who stopped at nothing to advance his fame and fortune. In fact, he was both, and more: an advisor to kings, an arms dealer, and author of some of the most enduring works of the stage, including The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville.

©2011 Harlow Giles Unger (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"This delightful rogue of many talents set up a company to front for the French and Spanish regimes secretly supplying weapons, munitions, clothing and food to the struggling rebels." (American History)

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It's not Unger's fault

It's all so improbable. Eighteenth century upper class madness. Kind of: Who cares? If you like gossip, this book is probably OK for you. Unger, though, is a fine researcher and writer. Just an icky choice of subject. And the narrator was certainly tolerable when played at 1.25x speed.

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How have I never heard of this before?!?

What an amazing life! This man had the kind of genius, luck, adventures, boldness, and cheek that is found maybe once in a hundred years. Throughout this book I kept thinking it would make for a great movie, but no one would find it believable. My only regret is that I wasn't reading a physical copy so I didn't get the foot notes.

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  • DM
  • 07-03-21

Amazing man! Life is better than Fiction

If this wasn't proven it would be so hard to believe actually happened to one man. Truely a Polymath! The American Revolutionary Government not only owes him a debt of gratitude but literally a debt they never paid him on. it's a shame, he is a true hero of the Revolution and deserves way more than the US has ever given him credit for.
Unbelievable story and maybe the most amazing thing is he escaped Paris with his live while living through "The Terror."
fascinating read, amazing man!