Fouché, Part I: Before Bonaparte 1759-1799

Former terrorist, responsible for some of the bloodiest excesses of the Revolution, Joseph Fouché, thanks to his intellect, his ruthlessness, his political flair and his unequalled “knowledge of men and circumstances,” lived on to play an important role under both Napoleon I and Louis XVIII. By Harold Kurtz.

Power, real, decisive, political power concentrated in the hands of a police official is a subject of wide and complex implications. The very substantial positions of power that Joseph Fouché, Duke of Otranto, created for himself in the quarter of a century between 1789 and 1815 were to an astonishing degree due to his outstanding gifts of intellect and character, to a coldly precise insight into circumstances and the nature of men, rather than to a merely opportunist exploitation of them.

He was a political arithmetician of genius. In the changing climate of The Times he survived as Minister of the General Police by boldly bringing into play his no less outstanding talents for mystification and dissimulation, by his dexterity, his ruthlessness, his flair.

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