Sunday, 6 December 2009

Terrible Exile - new book on Napoleon's last days on St Helena

Yet another book on the captivity - this time focusing on the last few days.

I will be very interested to see what he makes of it. As far as I know Brian Unwin is a journalist who writes largely for the Telegraph, and tends to specialise in birds. Wonder if I have got the right man? [No I hadn't! - see my comment February 15th 2010]

I don't recall any other secondary source which concentrates on such a short period, assuming that "last days" means just that.

For me the best although obviously partial, account I have read of the last few months is that in the Memoirs of General Bertrand Grand Marshall of the Palace, January to May 1821 (1)

This book is not due to be published until March 2010 though. I should by then have finished Lefebvre!

1. Bertrand's diaries were not deciphered until the 1940's. Only the ones for 1821 have been translated into English. (Cassell and Company, 1953).


MissElisabeth said...

we might assume he's on Napoleon's side, if he calls the exile "terrible"

Specialize in
How did he get into the idea to write a book about Napoleon's last days.

John Tyrrell said...

Like you I am intrigued as to what stance he will take, and how he has moved on to this subject - if I have got the right man!

Have had another look at Amazon. Clearly I was wrong in thinking this was about his "last days" - it looks as if it covers the whole period from Waterloo until his death. Apparently it offers "a persuasive psychological portrait of a great man in reduced circumstances."

Will be interesting to compare his coverage of that aspect with Jean-Paul Kauffmann's Dark Room at Longwood

MissElisabeth said...

That is one confusing cover and title than.
Please tell me if it's any good once you red it, though.

I'm still waiting for my Kaufmann book. Amazon is taking its jolly ol' time with it.

John Tyrrell said...

Couldn't be more wrong about the author - it is Sir Brian Unwin a former British Civil Servant - who has apparently had a life long interest in the subject.

Wordcraft and Statecraft said...

In The Terribl Exile the warm and affectionate relationship between the Emperor and Col Mark Wilks is brought out very well and with the arrival of Hudson Lowe everything changed.