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Napoleon III and His Carnival Empire
     

Napoleon III and His Carnival Empire

by John Bierman
 

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Louis Napoleon, nephew to the famous Bonaparte, is one of the most colorful historical actors of the nineteenth century. Bohemian, adventurer, compulsive Don Juan, he managed, to the astonishment of virtually everyone, to be elected President of France in 1848 and within three years staged the coup d'etat that made him Emperor.

Overview

Louis Napoleon, nephew to the famous Bonaparte, is one of the most colorful historical actors of the nineteenth century. Bohemian, adventurer, compulsive Don Juan, he managed, to the astonishment of virtually everyone, to be elected President of France in 1848 and within three years staged the coup d'etat that made him Emperor.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Bierman's delightfully disdainful biography, Louis Napoleon, the bungling, sexually athletic ruler of France's Second Empire, emerges as an implausible monarch. When Parisian workers took to the barricades in 1848, this rakehell was busy gambling and enjoying his English mistress, the courtesan Harriet Howard. A few months later he would be elected president. Proclaiming himself Emperor Napoleon III, he took countless lovers and led his country into one senseless war after another. Dissolute and muddleheaded, he clashed constantly with his frigid wife, Empress Eugenie, who combined a vast ignorance of the world with decided opinions on every facet of foreign policy. Louis Napoleon was quite probably not a Bonaparte at all, biologically speaking, according to the author, but he rode to power on the strength of his name. The biographer of Raoul Wallenberg ( Righteous Gentile ), Bierman attempts to rescue Louis, reminding us of his inventive, bold, humane traits. His populist portrait strips away the tawdry trappings of the Second Empire far more revealingly than many scholarly studies. Illustrations not seen by PW. BOMC and QPBC selections. (August)
Library Journal - Library Journal
In his new popular biography, Bierman thoroughly surveys this colorful period and the enigmatic emperor who both led and typified it. Drawing heavily on memoirs of the period, particularly those of the British ambassador Earl Cowley, Bierman describes the ``philistine, hypocritical, corrupt and relentlessly materialistic'' empire along with its achievements. He reveals a Napoleon who, though pompous, devious, and womanizing, nevertheless displayed the political pragmatism, flexibility, and personal courage needed to successfully rule France. This balanced and readable portrait of a frequently misunderstood ruler will interest scholars and general readers. William C. McCully, Park Ridge P.L., Ill.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312039004
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/01/1989
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
5.66(w) x 8.97(h) x 1.15(d)

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