Relying largely on a massive deposit of private papers which have never been open to researchers, Behind the Diplomatic Curtain forces a reexamination of some of the most popularly held views on the history of France and European diplomacy between the Congress of Vienna and the Unification of Italy.
Based on the intimate letters to and from Adolphe de Bourqueney, considered by many historians to be one of France’s ablest diplomats, it is on one level a Pepys-like recording of the glamour and peccadilloes of the first half of the nineteenth century.
Behind the Diplomatic Curtain has been praised as “an intriguing story based on a great collection of documents,” “most unusual . . . and most charming,” and “a major contribution to broad understanding of a complex era so significant to the history of Europe.”
Because of his role in significant negotiations, his residence in French embassies in major European capitals, and his friendship with important diplomatic figures, Bourqueney is a worthy subject of an extended study. Historians of France as well as those interested in foreign affairs of several European countries might usefully consult this book.
—Sylvia Neely, Penn State University
This work describes Bourqueney’s career with persuasive examples because it draws on an unusually rich collection of family letters and diplomatic reports.The author uses this material to convey the complexities of Bourqueney’s work.
—Lloyd Kramer, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill