"For more than three hundred years the legend of 'the man in the iron mask' has held a place on the stage of human enquiry and debate. From the time of his incarceration during the reign of Louis XIV right through to our modern day, the awful fate of the man condemned to live a lifetime with his face encased in iron has inspired, depending on the era, anger, horror, pity a"For more than three hundred years the legend of 'the man in the iron mask' has held a place on the stage of human enquiry and debate. From the time of his incarceration during the reign of Louis XIV right through to our modern day, the awful fate of the man condemned to live a lifetime with his face encased in iron has inspired, depending on the era, anger, horror, pity and fascination." So opened the New York Times review of the first edition of The Man Behind the Iron Mask. John Noone's masterful account of the mystery presents all the known facts of the prisoner's existence chronologically as they have been discovered, including the famous legend immortalized in the nineteenth century by Alexander Dumas in his sequel to The Three Musketeers, and into modern times with the supposed discovery of his skeleton in an old tower in Cannes in 1977. Noone also offers his own intriguing solution to the identity of the Man in the Iron Mask, telling the story of this mystery of enduring strength like no one else has....
|Title||:||The Man Behind The Iron Mask|
|Number of Pages||:||473 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Man Behind The Iron Mask Reviews
A review of the legends and the realities.Yes, there was a prisoner kept masked -- velvet, it seems, not iron. But things expanded from there. From Voltaire's hints, where he points out with great portentousness but, unfortunately no accuracy, that no one prominent vanished the year the man was arrested, that lead to the most common story, the twin of Louis XIV -- not, as it turns out, plausible, because all accounts agreed that the man in the mask was tall, and Louis XIV was, in fact, rather short. There is even a story that the man married the governor's daughter, and the Bonapartes were descended from the union.Some of the others include an Italian involved in certain intrigues (the mask is credited to an Italian custom of wearing them to protect the face from the sun), a princess (Louis XIV was substituted for her so Louis XIII would have an heir -- this theory comes from supporters of his brother Philippe's descendants, who would then be the rightful heir), an illegitimate son of Anne of Austria, an illegitimate son of Louis XIV, an illegitimate son of Charles II, the man that a secret society wanted to make king (kept alive so they would not go to a new candidate), and more.His own theory was the prisoner was as obscure as he seemed from other evidence, and the drama was done by the prison governor to make his position look important.It really is hard to reconcile the obsessive care taken with the prisoner with the menial treatment he also got.Also touches on a lot of related topics, like prison and the justice system. Useful for anyone who wants to steal a melodramatic plot.
An odd little book, but one I once stayed up all night reading. Noone looks at the tale of the Man In The Iron Mask, made famous by Dumas (please, let's not think about Leonardo di Caprio) and applies wit, intelligence, research skills, and clear good sense to reach some elegantly sensible conclusions. We know there was a real prisoner, kept in special cells and kept hidden away--- though masked in velvet, not iron, when transported ---and we know that a host of wild guesses exist about his identity: twin brother of Louis XIV being the most famous, but a host of others (a bastard son of Louis, the duc de Lauzun, even Moliere) having been proposed as well. John Noone asked a simple enough question... If you were trying to hide a secret prisoner, why exactly would you take him masked into public and allow warders to sell wealthy tourists the right to see the masked prisoner in his cell? Noone turned his gaze not on the prisoner, but on his long-time jailor and then went to work in French archives to ferret out a very satisfying answer. "Man Behind the Iron Mask" is a horrifying tale in some ways--- certainly for the hapless prisoner ---but a lovely piece of research and a nicely-done look at prisons, politics, and the bureaucracy of Louis XIV's France. A small work of puzzle-solving that's well done and makes for a very enjoyable evening's reading.
Close enough to four stars, though I often lost track of the various names. A look into how the Man in the Iron Mask became widespread legend in France and possible explanations. Emphasis on possible. If you want definitive, too bad.
Who hasn't heard the story of the man in the iron mask and wondered who he really was? Maybe Noone tells you more than you want to know about all the solutions to the mystery that have been proposed, beginning with Voltaire. Get ready for a roller-coaster ride through 17th century French and English history -- well written but with lots of names to keep track of - some famous, some not. I had been wanting to know more about Louvois, Louis XIV's minister of war, and I was not disappointed by the portrait given here. Noone fairly presents each proposal as if it were fact, and sometimes I got impatient with disentangling the arguments. I won't share Noone's solution to the problem but I do find it more credible, if less spectacular, than the other proposals. There are chronologies at the end, great maps, bibliography, and a terrific index. Well worth a read, even if you haven't read Dumas's novel The Viscount of Bragelonne, the third of the Three Musketeers books, which contains the story of the masked prisoner.
What I enjoyed learning: the prisoner in the iron mask was NOT the identical twin of the king. Dumas' d'Artagnan was a real Musketeer, Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, who lived during the time of the prisoner. There was a real prisoner who was taken in a sedan chair for two hundred miles wearing an iron mask when he was being transferred.