Napoleon Series Archive 2015

Re: Books about Napoleon's personal life

Another book you probably saw was The Bonapartes by David Stacton

Here's a contemporary review: "In this resplendent composite biography of Napoleon and his relatives and descendants, Stacton uses rapid incident and never stoops to ""scene"" and ""dialogue."" It is wonderful, a superb, sad comic novel. One family, caught in an immense photograph! Napoleon made his four brothers kings and princes and they in turn indulged in a marathon of mistresses, illegitimate children, and money hoarded or spent hand over fist. Louis Bonaparte, a paranoiac, ""preferred men to women, and himself to either."" Joseph Bonaparte angered the Emperor by ruling Spain and Naples rather than looting them for France. Jerome Bonaparte, youngest, called Fifi, was splendid, libidinous, idiotic and a pinwheeling spendthrift who married a golddigging Baltimore belle. (Fifi's American wife then plagued the Bonapartes for fifty years.) Louis Bonaparte, intellectual, author of two terrible epic poems and fourteen children, broke with Napoleon, bought an English castle and became a country gentleman. Of his sisters, we remember Pauline, prostrate on the floor and complaining to her physician of exhaustion, a too ardent lover. Stacton's tempered wit proceeds from oddity to grotesquerie, Bonaparte after Bonaparte, for half a century with Napoleon himself as a fixed norm or querulous status quo. (Later Bonapartes become Secretary of the U.S. Navy; pose for Calvert whisky's Men of Distinction ads.) Stacton's portraits of Bonaparte women are devastating: Marie Louise always wipes her mouth after kissing her infant son and after kissing Napoleon. This is Stacton without epigrams. at his tightest and brightest. R.F. Delderfield's The Golden Millstones and Theo Aronson's The Golden Bees indicated the market and gave some-what parallel coverage in soberer terms."

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Books about Napoleon's personal life
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