This wonderful little gem of a book will be treasured by anyone with an interest in Napoleon and his time on St Helena. Scholarly yet readable, well-presented, annotated and laid out, the book provides an insight into the exiled Emperor's actions on the island via the secret letters of his Irish doctor.
Barry Edward O'Meara, who lived with Napoleon at Longwood House and was courted as a spy by both the English and the French, wrote and sent these clandestine epistles to a friend in the civil service in London. They were circulated amongst government and mandarin circles, often reaching as far as the Prince Regent himself.
O'Meara would, on his return to England, write a best-selling book lauding Napoleon and critising the conduct of the British Governor (who, to all effects and purposes, was Napoleon's jailor). One of the interesting aspects of the book is witnessing at first hand how and why O'Meara came to form this opinion. Speckled among that narrative are juicy nuggets regarding the Emperor and his entourage which alone repay the price of admission.
Readers worried by the "speciality" aspect of the book need not be put off: the author provides a commentary which is both informative and inclusive. Attractively designed and despatched via a speedy, personal service, Inside Longwood more than merits an Imperious five stars.