Bresler, Fenton Napoleon III: A Life

ISBN 13: 9780002557870

Napoleon III: A Life

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9780002557870: Napoleon III: A Life

The first biography for twenty years of Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, who became President of France in 1848 and assumed the title of Emperor in 1852, presiding over the glittering years of the Second Empire and the grandiloquent rebuilding of Paris. By the early 1860s he was the most powerful man in Europe.

Prince Louis Napoleon was born with a compelling sense of destiny. The eldest nephew of Bonaparte, he came from exile and ignominy to rule France, first as President then as Emperor for 22 years, from 1848 to 1870. Under his benevolent dictatorship, the nation grew in artistic fulfilment, industrial wealth and international influence – until catastrophic defeat at the hands of Bismarck in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 cast her back into the shadows.

Subsequently, with his wife the Empress Eugenie, Napoleon III went into exile in Chislehurst, Kent, until his death in 1873. (His widow was not to die till 1920.) There is now a movement in France to retrieve his ashes from their mausoleum in Farnborough and bring them back to France.

Napoleon III was, according to Queen Victoria, ‘endowed with wonderful self-control and with a power of fascination, the effect of which upon all those who became more intimately acquainted with him is most sensibly felt.’ He was brave in battle and a compulsive womaniser; one of the only two really great loves of his life was Harriet Howard, an English true-life equivalent of Violetta, the courtesan heroine of Verdi’s La Traviata.

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From the Back Cover:

Prince Louis Napoleon was born with a compelling sense of destiny. The eldest nephew of Bonaparte, he came from exile and ignominy to rule France, first as President then as Emperor for 22 years, from 1848 to 1870. Under his benevolent dictatorship, the nation grew in artistic fulfilment, industrial wealth and international influence – until catastrophic defeat at the hands of Bismarck in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71 cast her back into the shadows.

Subsequently, with his wife the Empress Eugenie, Napoleon III went into exile in Chislehurst, Kent, until his death in 1873. (His widow was not to die till 1920.) There is now a movement in France to retrieve his ashes from their mausoleum in Farnborough and bring them back to France.


Napoleon III was, according to Queen Victoria, ‘endowed with wonderful self-control and with a power of fascination, the effect of which upon all those who became more intimately acquainted with him is most sensibly felt.’ He was brave in battle and a compulsive womaniser; one of the only two really great loves of his life was Harriet Howard, an English true-life equivalent of Violetta, the courtesan heroine of Verdi’s 'La Traviata.'

About the Author:

Fenton Bresler (previously published by Heinemann and Sinclair-Stevenson) has written biographies of Georges Simenon and Lord Goddard. He is a trained lawyer and former crime correspondent, best known for his general books on legal topics (a history of Interpol and LAW WITHOUT A LAWYER). He is fluent in French and has, since childhood, nursed a passion for the subject.

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Bresler, Fenton
Published by HarperCollins (1999)
ISBN 10: 0002557878 ISBN 13: 9780002557870
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Book Description HarperCollins, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0002557878

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