Lawday, David 1938–

views updated

Lawday, David 1938–


Born 1938, in London, England; married; children: two. Education: Attended Brasenose College, Oxford.


Home—Paris, France. Agent—A.M. Heath and Co., Ltd., 6 Warwick Ct., Holborn, London WC1R 5DJ, England.


Writer. Worked as journalist with Reuters news agency; Economist, worked as chief correspondent for Paris, France, Washington, DC, and Berlin, Germany; U.S. News and World Report, worked as Europe correspondent based in Paris. Military service: Royal Air Force.


Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand, J. Cape (London, England), 2006, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to Atlantic Monthly and New Statesman.


As a correspondent for the Economist and U.S. News and World Report, David Lawday lived in France for many years, marrying a French woman and raising his two children there. His long experience of France, in the eyes of an Economist reviewer, made him "an ideal biographer" of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, a highly influential French statesman who held positions close to the top of a number of French regimes, notably that of Napoleon Bonaparte. Lawday's biography of the controversial Talleyrand, Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand, was published in 2006.

Lawday "made a handsome job of a demanding and complex subject," according to History Today contributor Marisa A. Linton. While producing what several critics deemed a comprehensive look at Talleyrand's eventful life, he gives particular attention to the Frenchman's connection with Napoleon, whom Talleyrand at first helped rise to power and later helped depose. "The relation between these two strongly contrasted men forms the backbone of Lawday's book," noted Ruth Scurr in the Telegraph Online. Although some reviewers expressed concerns about inadequate documentation and a conventional approach, the Economist writer felt that the book was written "in a style for today's times." Others welcomed the book as something of a corrective to earlier biographies of Talleyrand, based as it is upon more recent scholarship. A Kirkus Reviews critic dubbed Napoleon's Master "swift, informed, and literate," and Jim Doyle, writing in Library Journal, deemed it a "compelling portrait."



Atlantic Monthly, December, 2007, Benjamin Schwarz, "Charm Offensive," p. 93.

Booklist, November 1, 2007, Gilbert Taylor, review of Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand, p. 15.

Economist, September 30, 2006, "As with Whist, So with Politics: Talleyrand," p. 93.

History Today, August, 2007, Marisa A. Linton, review of Napoleon's Master, p. 61.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of Napoleon's Master.

Library Journal, November 1, 2007, Jim Doyle, review of Napoleon's Master, p. 75.

London Review of Books, November 16, 2006, David A. Bell, "One Does It Like This," p. 15.

Publishers Weekly, September 24, 2007, review of Napoleon's Master, p. 56.


Telegraph Online, (December 17, 2006), Ruth Scurr, "He Quipped while Napoleon Quaked."