Louis XIV wanted to conquer time and space - to push the borders of France which he inherited out into Flanders, Burgundy and Alsace, and beyond, to expand French dominion in the Americas and the East, to win what he called 'the exquisite praises of history' through conquests and to create a great palace which would surpass all others and secure his immortality. He became the epitome and exemplar of monarchy, the king all his contemporaries and successors imitated, envied, or fought against.
King of the World is a magnificent and startlingly insightful account of the man who dominated the seventeenth century more than any other. To what extent did Louis have absolute power, or was decision-making in the hands of ministers and mistresses? How much of the extravagance of Versailles was for show, and how far was Louis himself the show? How could such a civilized man commit so many acts of barbarism? How effective was he as a ruler and a general? Did he leave his country stronger or weaker than it was before? Mansel offers original and persuasive answers to these questions, and weaves a brilliant tapestry of the life of one of the most compelling figures in European history.
AUTHOR: Philip Mansel
is a historian of courts and cities, France and the Ottoman Empire. His previous books include Louis XVIII
, The Court of France: 1789-1830
and Paris Between Empires, 1814-1852
; Sultans in Splendour: The Last Years of the Ottoman World
, Constantinople: City of the World's Desire
and Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean
. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Asiatic Society and the Institute of Historical Research, and is President of the Conseil Scientifique at the Centre de Recherche du Chateau de Versailles. In 2010 he was appointed Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, in 2012 received the London Library Life in Literature Award, and in 2016 was awarded the Order of the Crown by the Belgian government.