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A talk given recently on campus by biographer Harlow Giles Unger will be seen nationally on C-Span2's “Book TV” on Oct. 19 and 20.

Unger is author of Lafayette, a new biography of the Marquis de Lafayette published last month by John Wiley & Sons. He delivered a lecture entitled “Lafayette: Champion of American Liberty” Sept. 19. “Book TV” videotaped the presentation and will air it at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, and at 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 20.

The author calls the Marquis de Lafayette “the world's foremost champion of individual liberty, abolition, religious tolerance, gender equality, universal suffrage, and free trade.”

About his book, Unger says, “I am an ex-reporter and I've taken a journalist's approach. You don't need to guess or speculate, all you have to do is be a reporter and let those who knew Lafayette speak for themselves. It's all there in Lafayette's memoirs, in the first biography written about him by a renowned French biographer who knew the Lafayette family. It's in Dumas Malone's six-volume biography of Jefferson and Jared Sparks' biography of Washington. My book is a biography, but it also paints a broad picture of the times. After all, it was one of the most dramatic periods in Western history.”

“Harlow Unger's Lafayette is a remarkable and dramatic account of a life as fully lived as it is possible to imagine, that of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette,” says Larry Collins, coauthor of Is Paris Burning? and O Jerusalem! with Dominique Lapierre '52.

On Aug. 7 President Bush signed a bill granting American citizenship to the Marquis de Lafayette, an honor granted posthumously to only five other individuals, Winston Churchill; Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who helped save some 100,000 Hungarian Jews during World War II; William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, and his wife, Hannah; and Mother Teresa.

Lafayette President Arthur J. Rothkopf '55 calls the honorary citizenship “a wonderful tribute to the Marquis and also quite gratifying for Lafayette College, which has so proudly borne his name for more than 175 years.” The honor is drawing renewed attention to the prominent role the Marquis de Lafayette played in the American Revolution as well as in subsequent revolutionary movements in France and elsewhere in Europe, Rothkopf adds.

As principal author of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man,” Lafayette helped propel not only the French Revolution, but all of Europe's subsequent revolutions. He vigorously championed freedom and human rights throughout his life.

Lafayette made a 14-month tour of the new nation in 1824-25 during which he visited 182 towns, became the first foreigner to address Congress, and was given a large tract of land in Florida. The original text of his remarks to Congress is in the Lafayette College archives, a gift from Morris W. Clothier, who also presented the College with the Daniel Chester French statue of the Marquis that stands in front of Colton Chapel.

A veteran journalist and educator, Unger is the author of two other historical biographies on John Hancock and Noah Webster. His articles appeared in newspapers around the world during his years as editor, foreign correspondent, and American affairs analyst with the New York Herald Tribune and The Times of London. He is a former professor of English and journalism.

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