Napoleon & Josephine: An Improbable Marriage (Phoenix Giants) Paperback – 7 Oct 1996
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From the Publisher
Antonia Fraser explains why this is one of her favourites...
The marriage of the Corsican-born Napoleon, then a young army officer, to the languid, promiscuous Creole beauty, Josephine de Beauharnais, brought together two complete opposites. Josephine, the widow of a man guillotined in the Terror, was indeed extremely reluctant to take the plunge and it was only the need for a protector which swayed her. Napoleon on the other hand was physically obsessed by Josephine, but also believed that her political influence in the salons of Paris would help him in his urgent struggle to succeed. What is so compelling about this book - apart from the tempestuous love story it tells - is the brilliant use Evangeline Bruce makes of the contrast between to the two worlds from which the couple came. Her acute sense of social observation recreates the background of the Napoleons, explains the hostility to Josephine, the power of Napoleon's mother, before passing to Josephine's own exotic early life and then, unforgettably, the Paris of the Directorate and the Empire.
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Top Customer Reviews
Evangeline Bruce's book could have been written during the Bourbon Restoration, between 1815 and 1830, being, as it is, a compendium of all kinds of Royalist gossip and slander ever written against Napoleon and his Italian family, whereas Josephine and her French family are always treated fairly and sympathetically. Bruce sees Napoleon as a natural born monster: cynical, unscrupulous, ambitious, calculating, tyrannical and a bloodthirsty warmonger, in a word, the Corsican Ogre, that famous boogeyman invented by French and English Royalists to extinguish all trace of the Revolution which, according to them, was embodied by that single man.
She denies him any patriotism or idealism. She denies him any merit, attributing his military successes to his marshals and his political ones to his "incredible luck.Read more ›
The book was obviously well researched and written by someone who was really enamored by this period. My only regret is that, this is Evangeline Bruce's only book. As mentioned in previous reviews, I also am intrigued to read other biographies of the people involved in the politics of this era.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this for my Aunt she is very please with the quality of the book .Great service. The bestPublished on 15 Feb. 2012 by Ss
I found this biography absolutely fascinating, I had no idea about the true nature of the relationship between Napoleon and Josephine and of course the true nature of Napoleon... Read morePublished on 29 Dec. 2000 by Justine Gordon
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