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Napoleon & St Helena


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About the Author

Johannes Willms is a historian and journalist. He is a correspondent for the German national daily Suddeutsche Zeitung


'Here is a charming little book that would appeal to those who are interested in Napoleon's last years in exile, and those who make the pilgrimage to St Helena to see where the great man lived until his death in 1821. It is a small pocket-sized book ideally suited for the traveller who wants a guide to the history and geography of the island. It is not a book solely about Napoleon. The author has written other books on the Emperor and this work is designed to compliment those and also tell the story of the island itself. St Helena is dominated by the story of Napoleon, but the author has set out to show that the island has story to tell as well. From the island's little-used prison, the fortifications, the places to stay, and the various buildings that feature in the story of the years from 1815 to 1812. After talking to the governor of the island, the author has come to the conclusion that 'the cultivation of Napoleon's memory on St Helena is an exclusively French preserve', as the French government own the Briars, Longwood House and Geranium Valley. The author weaves the story of the island around that of the last days of its most famous resident, so we get a vivid account of life on the island before, during and after Napoleon's residence. While the history of Napoleon's exile and his relationship with his gaoler have been examined in far greater detail than in this book, Willms' account provides a pocket synopsis for the traveller to the island who wants to see the island as it is now but at the same time understand the story for which St Helena is most famous. The actual traveller to the island, and the armchair traveller planning a visit, will both find this charming book of interest.' -- Paul Chamberlain Great Empire 200905

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