Guiseppe Balsamo was born in the mid-eighteenth century in the slums of Palermo, Sicily. He would rise from obscurity to become the legendary Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, whose dangerous charm and reputed healing would make him the darling - and bane - of upper-crust Europe. Moving through the period between the Age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution - a time when reason and superstition co-mingled in the minds of even the best educated - Cagliostro earned a reputation for dazzling kings, feeding the poor, healing the ill and, most conspicuously, relieving the careless rich of their money. He tangled with most of the major figures in Europe at that time, including Casanova, Mozart, Goethe and Catherine the Great. Eventually a lifetime of political intrigue led him to become the key figure in The Diamond Necklace Affair, which many believe precipitated the French Revolution itself, and which would eventually lead to his own downfall and death while imprisoned and made half insane by the Inquisition.
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"The dodgy count's switchback story is told here with tremendous aplomb" ( Financial Times)
"McCalman reveals the underside of the Age or Reason, and the dark man who served as its angel" ( Sunday Times)
"In glittering splendour McCalman reveals the underside of the age of reason, and the dark man who served as its angel" ( Sunday Times)
"Ian McCalman has written a fast-paced adventure and expose of the steamy side of the 18th century." ( Daily Telegraph)
"This rich, fantastic, devilishly romantic book about one of the great flim-flam men of history is quite brilliant - utterly absorbing, bewilderingly clever and, like the man himself, a charming puzzle from beginning to end" ( Simon Winchester)
The critically acclaimed biography of the eighteenth century quack, charlatan and murderer who was to the French Revolution what Rasputin was to the Russian.
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Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 99441462