Synopses & Reviews
At its height, the Napoleonic Empire spanned much of mainland Europe. Fêted and feared by millions of citizens, Napoleon was the most powerful and famous man of his age. But following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo the future of the one-time Emperor of France and master of Europe seemed irredeemably bleak. How did the brilliant tactician cope with being at the mercy of his captors? How did he react to a life in exile on St Helena - and how did the other inhabitants of that isolated and impregnable island respond to his presence there? And what tactics did he develop to preserve his legacy in such drastically reduced circumstances?
Tracing events from the dramatic defeat at Waterloo to his death six years later, this is the first modern comprehensive account of the last phase of Napoleon's life. Drawing on many previously overlooked journals and letters, Brian Unwin has pieced together a remarkably vivid account of Napoleon's final years which also offers fresh insights into the character of this giant of European history. Terrible Exile brilliantly evokes the claustrophobic atmosphere of life on St Helena, offering a colorful and original history of the period as well as a persuasive psychological portrait of a great man in reduced circumstances. It will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in Napoleonic history and is an important addition to our understanding of the subject.
"A masterpiece of historic tragedy. Every one of the hundred French and English emerges clearly, including Napoleon himself, revealing fresh details about his lone affair." - Vincent Cronin, author of Napoleon
"A work of impeccable fairness. Without rehabilitating Lowe, Brian Unwin points out the extreme difficulties faced by the British general, dismisses the complex conspiracy theories of a plot to murder Napoleon by degrees, and points out the intransigence of a man who had thought he possessed a destiny to rule the world, only to discover that, at the end, he was no better than ordinary mortals. A refreshingly objective account of a subject much perverted by myth, anti-Anglicism and daft conspiracy." - Richard Woodman, author of the 'Nathaniel Drinkwater' Naval History series
"Masterly...Unwin evokes, in poignant detail, the idle years of exile, the quarrels and the intrigues." - Michael Binyon, The Times
"A marvelous account of this extraordinary drama, beautifully illustrated, graphic, well-paced and garnished with first-hand knowledge of St Helena" - Brian Holden
"A refreshingly objective account" - Richard Woodman, author of the 'Nathaniel Drinkwater' Naval History series
"For too long we have blindly accepted Napoleon's own account of the horrors of his exile on St Helena - 'the accursed rock', as he called it - but with Brian Unwin's well-researched and very well-written investigation into the truth, we now see that his captors have a fascinating tale to tell too." - Andrew Roberts, Historian and Journalist
About the Author
Sir Brian Unwin studied at the universities of Oxford and Yale. After a career in the civil service in Whitehall he became President of the European Investment Bank. He has a longstanding interest in the Napoleonic period and Napoleon's captivity on St Helena and in 2007 visited the island in pursuit of his research.
Table of Contents
1. From Waterloo to Rochefort
2. From Rochefort to Plymouth
3. The Voyage to St Helena
4. Arrival at St Helena
5. Longwood House
6. The Arrival of Sir Hudson Lowe
7. Captivity and Confrontation
8. Napoleon's Continuing Problems
9. Sir Hudson Lowe's Problems
10. The Road to the End
11. A Judgement