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Series: Vernon Series in World History Series covering all aspects of World History.

Napoleon’s Purgatory

The Unseen Humanity of the “Corsican Ogre” in Fatal Exile (with an introduction by J. David Markham)

Thomas M. Barden, Fellow in the International Napoleonic Society

February 2017 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-166-4
Availability: In stock
334pp. ¦ $55 £44 €50

Napoleon’s Purgatory is a work portraying the human side of Napoleon as revealed by those who shared his exile on the island of St. Helena. Through the diaries and journals of the Emperor’s servants, generals, and companions come the stories of Napoleon’s tender love for children, his captivating sense of humor, his eternal love for Josephine, and his agonizing death. Napoleon Bonaparte was sent by the British to the remote island of St. Helena where he could not escape. What followed were six excruciating years of loneliness and depression, mixed with frolicking play with the island’s children, a battle of wills with his British captor, an exploration of his lapsed Catholic faith, and the complex relationship with the members of his entourage. This time in exile was akin to time served in Purgatory for Napoleon. His humanity, suffering, joy in the laughter of children, and longing for Josephine are captured vividly in this work through the detailed use of primary sources written by those who were there. While many considered Napoleon Bonaparte the “Corsican Ogre” for the wars he waged across Europe, he was anything but during his exile on St. Helena.

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