As we know too well, there are so many books on Napoleon that it is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, especially since certain writers, whom we shan’t name, are quite ready to “do” Napoleon simply because the subject is ever lucrative.

            However, 2013 heralds a pleasant surprise with the release of THE REAL NAPOLEON, The Untold Story.” This work, by our friend John Tarttelin, is quite politically incorrect in showing Napoleon as he truly was, that is to say, a thoroughly good man, magnanimous, generous, intelligent, courageous and a patriot to his country. This will cause much gnashing of teeth among the Emperor’s many avowed enemies, even in France! In the words of the author, “In this book, he [Napoleon] is shown for what he was, not as his enemies relentlessly portrayed him.”

            John Tarttelin is all the more courageous given that he comes from the nation that worked the hardest for Napoleon’s downfall, the United Kingdom! In that country, still awash in two hundred years of anti-Napoleonic propaganda, he has to be a veritable Don Quixote to dare to tilt at their single-minded thinking! But knowing the chivalrous spirit of our proud friend, we are not at all surprised.

            Throughout his book, John takes us in the footsteps of the Emperor, especially through the recollections of one of his most loyal soldiers, Captain Coignet. Nor does the author forget to confront the reader with newly discovered facts, such as the role played by a volcano in the Battle of Waterloo. At the end he naturally goes into the murder of the Emperor, the heinous crime that, even today, some strive to conceal.

                        And to quote John once again, “I hope that a new generation of readers will look differently upon the history of Napoleon Bonaparte, once rid of this sectarian tradition that conceals his achievements and his rightful claim to greatness.”

 

Pascal Cazottes, FINS & Legion of Merit

 

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