Unique in his own age and a phenomenon in any, Charles-Maurice, Prince de Talleyrand, was a statesman of outstanding ability and extraordinary contradictions. He was a world-class rogue who held high office in five successive regimes. A well-known opportunist and a notorious bribe taker, Talleyrand's gifts to France arguably outvalued the vast personal fortune he amassed in her service.
Once a supporter of the Revolution, after the fall of the monarchy, he fled to England and then to the United States. Talleyrand returned to France two years later and served under Napoleon, and represented France at the Congress of Vienna. Duff Cooper's classic biography contains all the vigor, elegance, and intellect of its remarkable subject.
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