Synopses & Reviews
St Helena is one of the most remote, and yet most famous, islands in the world—it was the final place of exile for Napoleon Bonaparte until his death in 1821. The island remains a place of mystery as a unique colonial survivor, with the island’s inhabitants still dependent on the support of the British government.
"'It is a curious fact,' observes Willms, 'that Napoleon always came to grief on islands.' He was forced to flee his native Corsica, failed to conquer Britain, was exiled to a miniature empire on Elba and pitifully ended his days banished to a tiny, rocky speck in the South Atlantic. It is on the last St. Helena, 'the world's best-known, little-known island' that Willms, a German journalist and biographer of Napoleon, concentrates, in this absorbing travelogue and history entry in the Armchair Traveller series. The former emperor complained mightily as to his fate, but eventually settled down to a life of constant surveillance, grinding tedium and thoroughly bad food. His loneliness was relieved only by the British taxpayers' hefty subsidy for a 38-person household who he insisted wear full dress uniforms and observe courtly rituals and sometimes the games of blind-man's-bluff he played with his guardians' children. Willms traces the aftermath of the emperor's death and the birth of the Napoleonic legend, as well as continuing the story of St. Helena to the present, in a book that will appeal to 'Napoleonogists' and inspire travelers looking for an undiscovered destination. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Napoleon biographer travels to the place of Bonaparte's final exile.
Napoleonic historian Johannes Willms visits this strange colonial survivor and unearths both a past and present that disturbs and delights with observations far beyond the ghost of Bonaparte.
About the Author
Johannes Willms, born 1948, is a historian and journalist. He was head of the editorial office at ZDF (a German TV Channel) and later editor of the feature section at the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. His previous works includes books on German and French history, and include Napoleon: A Biography.