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Reviews

"A fine book. It is a compelling account of a political drama in mid-seventeenth century France, but it is also a window into the process by which rule of law gradually became established...[and] I thoroughly enjoyed reading it."

"... Pitts gives us a well-organized, concise narrative of what amounts to a highly extractive economy whereby the few at the top accumulate the most to live in ostentatious slender."

"Pitts’s study of the trial of Fouquet is more than an English rendering of existing French scholarship. Widely read both in terms of primary sources and the historiographical debate, it combines a clear and confident focus on the trial’s key events and developments with a sure-footed set of judgments and interpretations of motive and consequences. The author emphasizes what can be forgotten when the trial is subsumed within wider debates about the early-modern French fiscal system: Fouquet was tried for both embezzlement and high treason."

"Pitts has written an excellent, detailed synthesis of the Fouquet affair and explained clearly the complex legal and financial issues that lay at the heart of the trial. This book will interest scholars and can be recommended for undergraduates."

"Pitts is a natural storyteller who draws the reader into the world of nobles and financiers. The book gives the reader a good sense of some of the main features of high politics of the time: court intrigue, shifting alliances, rivals scheming for power, shady dealings, patronage, piety, high officials skirting the law. At times the crafty plotting of the historical characters is reminiscent of Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies."