Hero of Two Worlds: The Marquis de Lafayette in the Age of Revolution (Hardcover)
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From the massively popular podcaster and New York Times bestselling author comes the story of the Marquis de Lafayette's lifelong quest to protect the principles of democracy, told through the lens of the three revolutions he participated in: the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Revolution of 1830.
Few in history can match the breadth and depth of the revolutionary career of the Marquis de Lafayette. Over fifty incredible years at the heart of the Age of Revolution, he fought as one with righteous revolutionaries on both sides of the Atlantic.
As an idealistic and courageous teenager serving in the American Revolution, he used his considerable wealth and savvy to help the Americans defeat the British. Then he returned home, and was a principle player in the French Revolution. And in his final act, at seventy years old, he was instrumental in the dramatic overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty during the Revolution of 1830.
All the while, he never wavered from the principles he had written into the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789: That men are born and remain free and equal, deserving of liberty, property, safety, freedom of speech, and the ability to resist oppression.
Through this age of upheaval, Lafayette remained unshakably committed to the principles he had outlined. From the time that he was an enthusiastic 19-year-old to the time he was a world-weary 74-year-old, his resolve never wavered.
As the saying goes, if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Today, the values codified and practiced by Lafayette are increasingly taken for granted. His life is thus the story of where we came from-and what we stand to lose if we abandon the ideals for which he fought.
About the Author
Mike Duncan is one of the most popular history podcasters in the world and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Storm Before the Storm. His award-winning series, The History of Rome, remains a legendary landmark in the history of podcasting. Duncan's ongoing series Revolutions explores the great political revolutions that have driven the course of modern history.
“Comprehensive and accessible…. Duncan marshals a wealth of information into a crisp and readable narrative. This sympathetic portrait illuminates the complexities of Lafayette and his revolutionary era.”—Publishers Weekly
"All listeners of The History of Rome and Revolutions – as well as readers of The Storm Before The Storm -- know the joy of Mike Duncan guiding them through epic, operatic moments in western history. Now Duncan has zeroed in on his perfect subject, a towering figure through whom Duncan can explore and even upend the birth of political liberalism. Duncan has reintroduced the Marquis de Lafayette for a whole new generation, bringing him to life with all his passions, contradictions and hypocrisies. Never mind the Broadway musicals, here's the Hero of Two Worlds." —Spencer Ackerman, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Reign of Terror: How The 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump
"Mike Duncan's ability to weave a rich and compelling story is on full display in Hero of Two Worlds. He takes the reader on a gripping roller-coaster ride that follows the Marquis de Lafayette's fortunes through decades of victory, defeat, and revolution on two continents… Duncan has an exceptional eye for both human potential and human fallibility, grasping the qualities that make figures like Lafayette real, three-dimensional people, simultaneously victims of circumstance and active participants driving forward the course of history. Hero of Two Worlds is biography and narrative at its best, an informative page-turner crafted by a master of historical storytelling."—Patrick Wyman, creator of Tides of History and author of The Verge: Reformation, Renaissance, and Forty Years that Shook the World
"I first learned of Mike Duncan's work when a prominent politician told me he'd been addicted to his podcast on the French Revolution, and found it startlingly relevant in 2021. Duncan's work is a reminder that history can also be a gripping yarn full of compelling characters, and in Hero of Two Worlds he brings alive one of the great characters of American history."—Ben Smith, New York Times
“Mike Duncan has dug deep into the world of revolutions, and the richness of detail in this book is beguiling. But Mike’s superpower is his storytelling skill. Hero Of Two Worlds hooks you from page one with humor, a sly perspective and a page turning narrative drive worthy of a life like Lafayette’s.”—Rian Johnson, award-winning filmmaker
"Mike Duncan’s excellent, well-researched book portrays Lafayette’s extraordinary life as a fascinating, transatlantic drama with three great revolutions and transitional interludes that carry the reader through seven explosive decades of historical change. The hero of this drama plays starring public roles in the American Revolution and the French Revolutions of 1789 and 1830. But Duncan weaves the people, conflicts, and legacies of these vast public events into stories about a personal life that was always entangled with complex family networks and multi-generational friendships as well as a loving marriage and emotionally-charged relationships with other women."—Lloyd Kramer, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and author of Lafayette in Two Worlds: Public Cultures and Personal Identities in an Age of Revolutions
“Lafayette gets his due in this magisterial biography.”
“This is just great writing. Duncan really knows how to assemble a compelling story and with Lafayette he has an amazing subject with which to work. Restores some of the well-deserved luster to the Frenchman’s historical reputation.”—Dan Carlin, host of Hardcore History