Cover image for Lafayette
Unger, Harlow G., 1931-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : J. Wiley & Sons, [2002]

Physical Description:
xxiii, 452 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E207.L2 U45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E207.L2 U45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E207.L2 U45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
E207.L2 U45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

On Order



Acclaim for Lafayette

""I found Mr. Unger's book exceptionally well done. It's an admirable account of the marquis's two revolutions-one might even say his two lives-the French and the American. It also captures the private Lafayette and his remarkable wife, Adrienne, in often moving detail."" -Thomas Fleming, author, Liberty!: The American Revolution

""Harlow Unger's Lafayette is a remarkable and dramatic account of a life as fully lived as it is possible to imagine, that of Gilbert de Motier, marquis de Lafayette. To American readers Unger's biography will provide a stark reminder of just how near run a thing was our War of Independence and the degree to which our forefathers' victory hinged on the help of our French allies, marshalled for George Washington by his 'adopted' son, Lafayette. But even more absorbing and much less well known to the general reader will be Unger's account of Lafayette's idealistic but naive efforts to plant the fruits of the American democracy he so admired in the unreceptive soil of his homeland. His inspired oratory produced not the constitutional democracy he sought but the bloody Jacobin excesses of the French Revolution.""-Larry Collins, coauthor, Is Paris Burning? and O Jerusalem!

""A lively and entertaining portrait of one of the most important supporting actors in the two revolutions that transformed the modern world.""-Susan Dunn, author, Sister Revolutions: French Lightning, American Light

""Harlow Unger has cornered the market on muses to emerge as America's most readable historian. His new biography of the marquis de Lafayette combines a thoroughgoing account of the age of revolution, a probing psychological study of a complex man, and a literary style that goes down like cream. A worthy successor to his splendid biography of Noah Webster.""-Florence King, Contributing Editor, National Review

""Enlightening! The picture of Lafayette's life is a window to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century history.""-Michel Aubert La Fayette

Author Notes

Harlow Giles Unger: A veteran journalist, he was a foreign news editor at the New York Herald Tribune Overseas Service and a foreign correspondent for the Times and the Sunday Times (London). The author of eight books on American education, he lives in New York City and Paris, France

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Appearing at a time when there is a new wave of interest in America's Founding Fathers, this well-written and well-researched biography should appeal to traditional political historians and informed lay readers alike. The author, a journalist and biographer, makes no secret of his great admiration for Lafayette, whom he presents as a "gallant knight" and true believer in American republican and constitutional ideals. Critical of historiographical interpretations that have painted Lafayette in either a romanticized or a cynical way, Unger aims to recount objectively the Frenchman's contributions to the great events of his age the American War of Independence and the French Revolutions of 1789 and 1830. The first biography of Lafayette to appear in almost 20 years, this text is noteworthy for the attention it gives to Lafayette's personal friendship with George Washington and for its careful reconstruction of the role Lafayette played in diplomatic and economic issues of importance to the fledgling American nation. Unger implies that Lafayette's "distaste for political leadership" and his consistent rejection of both political and military power may have played a role in allowing "madmen and fanatics" like Robespierre to rise to power. Although his biases against the French radical republicans are clear, Unger has succeeded in his goal of restoring Lafayette to his rightful place in Western political history. For all libraries. Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Unger, a former foreign news editor at the New York Herald Tribune, provides an intimate, detailed, and balanced biography of one of the great leaders in US and European history. Based on archival sources in France and the US, the book follows the marquis from the opulent surroundings of Versailles, where he was able to convince Louis XVI to send a French armada and thousands of troops to aid the American rebels, to the battlefields of North America. Although the "Conqueror of Cornwallis" was revered in America, Lafayette failed to be a hero in the Old World. His quest for a constitutional monarchy unwittingly triggered the French Revolution. After being declared an enemy of the state by Robespierre, Lafayette fled France and was imprisoned in an Austrian dungeon while his wife and her family awaited execution in France. Only the intercession of US ambassador James Monroe freed the family. While he may not have been the "Hero of Two Worlds," Lafayette remained an important figure in both. He became the world's foremost champion of individual liberty, religious tolerance, universal suffrage, and free trade. Summing Up: Recommended. All libraries. D. J. Heimmermann University of North Alabama

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Chronologyp. xiii
Prefacep. xvii
Part 1 The Best of Times
1 The Young Knightp. 3
2 The Questp. 17
3 First Bloodp. 31
4 Boy Generalp. 47
5 An American Winterp. 60
6 The Alliancep. 74
7 Return to Royal Favorp. 93
8 The Traitor and the Spyp. 112
9 Ride to Gloryp. 126
10 "The Play Is Over"p. 138
11 Conqueror of Cornwallisp. 160
12 Completing the Questp. 182
Part 2 The Worst of Times
13 The Notables and the "Not Ables"p. 207
14 "I Reign in Paris"p. 224
15 Guardian Angelp. 240
16 Prisoners of the Mobp. 257
17 The Most Hated Man in Europep. 277
18 The Prisoners of Olmutzp. 298
19 Resurrectionp. 320
20 Apotheosisp. 339
21 Les Adieuxp. 362
Epiloguep. 381
Notesp. 385
Selected Bibliography of Principal Sourcesp. 427
Indexp. 433