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The Indispensable Talleyrand

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Sphinx-like and superior, he ruled the Republic as a modern-day Sun King, erected huge architectural monuments to himself, read complicated books, and ate tiny songbirds the size of a toe, as detailed in confidant Georges-Marc Benamou's classic account of Mitterrand's last supper food and death porn rolled into one. [...] when it comes to rarefied tastes and exquisite manners, including spectacular death scenes, Mitterrand is outclassed by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, whose career serves as a master class in how to stay on top in turbulent times. A scion of an ancient aristocratic family, Talleyrand sensed where the political winds were blowing and sought to place himself in the forefront of the French Revolution - until things got out of hand and the climate became positively unhealthy for former aristos.

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