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When the United States Spoke French: Five Refugees Who Shaped a Nation

François Furstenberg
Item #: D71364
Format: Cloth
Pages/Publication Date: 498 / 2014
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781594204418
Currently Unavailable

In 1789, as the French Revolution convulsed Europe, the fledgling United States struggled with financial insolvency, regional separatism, and bitter political divisions. Here the author of In the Name of the Father considers this formative era through the lives of five Frenchmen in America: Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord; Rochefoucauld, the duc de Liancourt; Louis-Marie Vicomte de Noailles; Moreau de Saint-Méry; and Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, Comte Volney. Liberal aristocrats and anglophiles, they fled the bloodlust and chaos of France to join the new republic, influencing U.S. history and policy through such turning points as the diplomatic struggles of the 1790s, the Haitian Revolution, and the Louisiana Purchase.

"[François] Furstenberg opens a window into a lost world of glittering Philadelphian dinner parties, rough backwoodsmen speaking French and homesick émigrés. It's a fascinating portrait of the diplomatic intrigue between France and England for power and position, with the United States displaying a disconcertingly astute aptitude for playing them off against each other.... Essential reading for understanding the complex relationship between France and the United States that, to this day, endures."—Seattle Times


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