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Publisher's Summary

In this gripping biography, acclaimed author Harlow Giles Unger paints an intimate portrait of the heroic young French soldier who, at 19, renounced a life of luxury in Paris and Versailles to fight and bleed for liberty - at Brandywine, Valley Forge, and Yorktown. A major general in the Continental army, he quickly earned the love of his troops, his fellow commanders, and his commander in chief, George Washington, who called him his "adopted son".

Unger follows Lafayette from the battlefields of North America to the palace of Versailles, where the marquis won the most stunning diplomatic victory in world history - convincing the French court to send the huge military and naval force needed to win American independence. He then returned to America to lead the remarkable guerrilla campaign in Virginia that climaxed with British surrender at Yorktown.

Lafayette's triumph turned to tragedy, however, when he tried to introduce American democracy in his native land. His quest for a constitutional monarchy unwittingly set off the French Revolution and plunged Europe into more than a decade of slaughter and war. Declared an enemy of the state, Lafayette fled France only to be imprisoned for five years in an Austrian dungeon, while his wife, Adrienne, and her family festered in prison, awaiting the cruel blade of the guillotine.

©2002 Harlow Giles Unger (P)2021 Tantor

What listeners say about Lafayette

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WE GET IT! HE'S A "KNIGHT"

For some reason the author can't figure out any better overarching theme for Lafayette's life than his noble heritage. Every other paragraph he says something about knights and Arthurian legend. It's exhausting..

Otherwise, there is an extreme dependance on quotations. multiple sentences from countless letters. how many time do I need to hear Lafayette wright how much he loves Washington.

There is also no point of view beyond simple reportage of what happened, a rushed narrative at a breakneck pace, and a somewhat over reverant tone when it comes to the American revolution and it's figures.

It covers the basics most of the important events but kind of skims the last half of his life. the lament might not be as excited about what comes after the American and french revolutions, but if you write a book about Lafayette called simply "Lafayette", then it should be a complete look at his life, not just the most exciting bits

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Remarkable Man, Above Average Story

The Marquis de Lafayette was a truly remarkable man. In a time where I question the loyalty of many of my fellow Americans, its truly inspiring to follow the exploits of someone not born here but who came to America as a result of an admiration based on the defiance of authoritarian rule by its founders and their vision for a more perfect nation. My criticisms of this book are few. I wish there was more original narrative and a little less reading of Lafayette's letters. They're not always that revealing; how many times do we need to hear how much Lafayette loves his family and wishes he was with them? As for the audible reading, Mr. Boston did a fine job with the one exception of replacing "cavalry" with "calvary". Quite different meanings I'm afraid and its misquoted numerous times. So with those few exceptions a great retelling of the exploits of a great man.

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Breathy Performance, Iffy Writing

Both the writing and its performance could be better, but the point gets across well enough. A haigiograpgy.

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How is this man not known more?

An absolutely amazing man. One of the greats of history! As always, Unger does fantastic job with Layfeyette and his research and insight is amazing.
Read this book! NOW!

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A great take on nonfiction

As a lover of history, but not always biographies, I LOVED this book. The author focus his words on showing you Lafayette’s character through his relationships, rather than his deeds, which were many and great. Lafayette’s great love for his wife Adrienne is the backbone of his life and this book which is thrilling. It is true, behind every great man is an even greater woman. Lafayette’s life reads like a fairy tale. It’s hard to believe it was true! He is truly an inspiration.

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Excellent in every way

This book was fantastic. I’ve been interested in learning more about General LaFayette since I saw Hamilton the musical. Intertwining American and French and world history, this biography brings it all together, from pre-American revolution through Napoleonic rule and beyond in an entertaining way. I highly recommend this book.

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The Last and Greatest French Knight

This is an exciting and emotional glimpse at the life of one of the world's greatest men. Well written and insightful to the character of Lafayette.

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Remarkable

Who knew a man with this amount of passion for liberty could even be a reality!
Wow!....and sadly current America has become more like the French jacobins than like the liberty seeking original revolutionaries.

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GREAT !

Absolutely amazing what I learned from listening to this book. The context and the man and his relationship to America, such a good read.

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Great read!

Lafayette worked alongside Washington and other founders but is largely forgotten today. This work tells his fascinating story using letters and other original documents. He loved Liberty and aided America and France in that pursuit. Although his French Revolution history is tragic, Lafayette returned to his own home and country and finished his life well.