Madame Du Barry: The Wages of Beauty

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Born the illegitimate daughter of a monk and a seamstress, Madame du Barry rose from poverty to become one of the most powerful and wealthy women of France. A courtesan, she became Louis XV's official mistress and was fEted as one of France's most beautiful women. On Louis XV's death she became vulnerable to those secretly longing for her downfall. Marie Antoinette had her imprisoned for a year, and in 1793 she was executed by the Revolutionary Tribunal for her aristocratic associations. Joan Haslip's classic biography shares the extraordinary and ultimately tragic story of du Barry's life and, in turn, illustrates the dazzling world of the eighteenth century royal court of France and the horrors of the Revolution.