Books: Affair of State

Du BARRY (320 pp.)—Stanley Loomis —Lippincott ($6).

"He rises at 11," wrote a diarist of Louis XV, "and leads a useless life." But Louis' notion of ruling France by divine right was to titillate his courtiers with a succession of diabolic wrongs, and his affairs of state were not the kind that required early rising. His first three official mistresses were sisters named De Nesle, who fought each other like wolverines, and for a while it looked as if another De Nesle sister would claw her way to favor. The fourth of Louis' "left-hand...

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