Life, Legacy, and Image : A BiographyBook - 2012
From Alan Forrest, a preeminent British scholar, comes an exceedingly readable account of the man and his legend
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, 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. Drawing on original research and his own distinguished background in French history, Forrest demonstrates that Napoleon was as much a product of his times as their creator.
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Napoleon Bonaparte has been portrayed in dozens of films, played by everyone from Marlon Brando to Dennis Hopper, and notably as the character who ate the Ziggy Pig ice cream in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure! While entertaining, these films cannot begin to tell the tale of the man born 250 years ago this month, on August 15,1769, in Ajaccio, Corisca. Napoleon was a man of contradictions.… (more)