When the King Took Flight

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HIST When the King Took Flight Book Review Timothy Tackett’s When the King Took Flight recounts the historical and tragic failed escape attempt of the royal family of France. The book delves deep into the turbulence of the time period and demonstrates how King Louis XVI’s decision to flee turned the course of the Revolution in France. The book is vividly descriptive of the changing times in France and how it affected the different parties, factions, and classes proving Tackett’s research skills. Tackett, through his descriptive style, offers the reader an omniscient view of the early years of the Revolution up to and after the royal family’s failed escape. Through his intense research, Tackett gives the reader an appreciation for the difficult, unstable, and often violent Revolution and the men behind it. He includes personal letters, background knowledge of French monarchial rule, precise accounts of events, and explains to the reader the character of people who were involved and, most importantly, explains the significance of the most important escape attempt in history. Right from the beginning of the story, Tackett describes the dramatic turning point in the people’s view of the monarchy and the Revolution when Louis XVI was recognized and stopped by Jean-Baptiste Drouet. In this most paramount of moments of the Revolution the king acted as a man broken, crushed by fear and desperation begging for help from the townspeople of Varennes and embraces all of the members of the municipal court one by one (Tackett 2003)[1]. Tackett portrays a man helpless and broken in part due to the arduous journey from Paris and the high level of stress the family has experienced over their journey, but still aware of his noble roots. Once it was apparent to Louis XVI that he was identified as the king he responded, “Yes, I am your king, I have come to live among
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