On a cold December day in 1840 Parisians turned out in force to watch as the body of Napoleon was solemnly carried on a riverboat from Courbevoie on its final journey to the Invalides. The return of their long-dead Emperor's corpse from the Island of St Helena was a moment that Paris had eagerly awaited, though many feared that the memories stirred would serve to further destabilize a country that had struggled for order and direction since he had been sent into exile. In this book, Alan Forrest, tells the remarkable story of how the son of a Corsican attorney became the most powerful man in Europe, a man whose charisma and legacy endured after his lonely death many thousands of miles from the country whose fate had become so entwined with his own. Along the way, Alan Forrest also cuts away the many layers of myth and counter myth that have grown up around Napoleon, a man who mixed history and legend promiscuously and, drawing on original research and his own distinguished background in French history, demonstrates that Napoleon was as much a product of his times as their creator.
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Alan Forrest is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. He works on modern French history, especially the period of the French Revolution and Empire, and on the history of modern warfare. He serves on the editorial boards of French History and War in History, and is a member of the advisory committee for Annales historiques de la Revolution Francaise.Review:
'The biographer of Napoleon faces a daunting task: separating legend from reality, making sense of his contradictory legacy, and (most difficult of all) identifying a common thread in a character so obviously driven by conflicting impulses. Alan Forrest squarely confronts these challenges, and his Napoleon is a creditable addition to the literature' Times Literary Supplement. * Times Literary Supplement * 'A valuable and entertaining addition to the vast and still burgeoning Napoleonic oeuvre' Literary Review. * Literary Review * 'A book of supreme competence and reflection' Daily Express. * Daily Express *
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