By Adam Zamoyski
One evening in December 1755, Stanisław Antoni Poniatowski, the twenty-three-year-old secretary to the British Ambassador in St Petersburg, was once brought into the bed room of the Grand Duchess Catherine Alekseyevna. This marked the start of a torrid and clandestine affair which resulted in Stanisław being topped King of Poland in 1764.
The younger king used to be a rushing determine within the best eighteenth-century culture. He was once an ideal representation of the contradictions of Europe's ideological and spiritual viewpoints: he worshipped cause yet used to be led through the center; professed Catholicism yet believed in windfall; toyed with the occult and practised freemasonry.
A nice believer in paintings and schooling, he spent fortunes on cultural tasks, and discovering that he was once blocked politically via Catherine, he placed his energies right into a social and creative regeneration of his state. He reworked the temper and outlook of his nation and taken it to a brand new section of reform and independence, culminating within the passing of the structure in 1791, hailed in Britain, France and the U.S. as one of many maximum occasions of the century.
Poland's neighbours, although, seen this beacon of liberty of their midst with alarm, and as they invaded and partitioned it, Stanislaw was once pressured to monitor the destruction of his life's paintings, and eventually pressured to abdicate, a damaged guy, deceived and disappointed.
‘The final King of Poland’ is the wealthy and mesmerizing tale of a private dream with all of the parts of grand tragedy, whereas even as a huge chronicle of the delivery and loss of life of liberalism in Poland and the institution of Russian strength in Europe.
‘Intelligent, impressively reasearched, fantastically written.’ – Neal Ascherson, The autonomous on Sunday.
‘Writing japanese eu background is nearly actually a nightmare: a floor of operetta, underneath which lurk unending, it sounds as if unnecessary, issues, all finishing in catastrophe. Adam Zamoyski has risen with nice triumph above this, and has contributed a piece of genuine scholarship that also is remarkably effortless to read.’ – Norman Stone, The Sunday occasions.
‘A pleasant instance of the biographer's artwork, with a textual content as delicate to the subject's character because it is specialist within the affairs of the subject's times.’ – Norman Davies, the days Literary complement.
‘A story jam-packed with pathos, and Zamoyski tells it well.’ – Niall Ferguson, The Sunday Telegraph.
Count Adam Stefan Zamoyski is a historian and a member of the traditional Zamoyski family members of Polish the Aristocracy. His books contain ‘The Forgotten Few’, ‘Holy insanity: Romantics, Patriots and Revolutionaries’, and ‘Paderewski’.