Perhaps, this isn’t the sexiest book to add to my book reviews, but I love Voltaire. I love his work, his courage, his cleverness, his life’s story, his rise to being more powerful than Kings, his passion for justice, his devotion to the betterment of everyone’s lives, and his unparalleled generosity. He accomplished everything through writing! He changed the whole world with words; he embodies the power of how a written thought can turn the wheels of history. His words were sharper than any sword. He is my hero, and my inspiration! Enjoy this book, which gave me my first real look at him.
Ian Davidson did something amazing: he made me fall in love with a dead Frenchman. I confess before reading this biography, I knew Voltaire only by reputation. A couple years ago, I read and loved Candide, but that experience, at-the-time, was all Voltaire and I ever shared between us. Occasionally, in conversation and academics I came across him. He impressed me then, but I had no idea the diamond dangling in front of me. His place is in the pantheon of history. My only regret is I can not give this work a sixth star.
Voltaire wrote everything: he wrote plays, he wrote advocacy for social justice, he wrote for criminal justice reform, he wrote philosophy, he wrote fiction, he wrote science, etcetera., and his writing changed his world which changed our world too. Was there ever another person that gave so much to humanity? I think not. I will end with this: after reading this biography, if Voltaire does not immediately elevate to your favorite titan of history, I accuse you of not having read it.
Well done Mr. Davidson. Bien joué!
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Truly, I tell you, you can easily spend a whole-life feeling behind everyone else or below their expectations, or you can embrace who you are and accept your whole self and not just what others accept about you.
“People can shy away from topics because they are hard, and it can be easier to call them dark, rather than truth, or an aspect thereof. I believe that it is in the dark that we can really start to understand the true nature of our world and its people.” —N.L. Blandford