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The Emperor's Last Island : A Journey to St. Helena

by Julia Blackburn

Buy the book: Julia Blackburn. The Emperor's Last Island : A Journey to St. Helena

Release Date: 31 March, 1993

Edition: Paperback


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Buy the book: Julia Blackburn. The Emperor's Last Island : A Journey to St. Helena

A personal, elliptical meditation on life

This book is not easy to classify ' part biography, part memoir, part essay. After Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo, the British exiled him to the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena, where he lived the few remaining years of his life. This book, written in the early 1990s, consists of the author's sensitive and insightful musings on Napoleon's life and death on the island, the relations between him and others in that most unnatural setting and those most unnatural circumstances, the history of St. Helena, the world of Napoleonic studies, the author's visit to St. Helena, and much else. The book is very elliptical and personal, and is perhaps best described as an extended meditation by Blackburne on life and human relationships as displayed in these events. Hard-core Napoleon fans and others looking for a straightforward narrative are likely to be disappointed (though I suspect that more insight into Napoleon's character can be gleaned from this book than from any more prosaic narrative). The book will appeal to readers who enjoy an intimate conversation with a thoughtful woman who, taking as her point of departure the unique and timeless spectacle at the core of the book, has much to say about all of us.



I was really disappointed in this book. What the author did not understand, and probably never will, is that the readers are not the least interested in her life or the lives of her children or husband. I am not in any way interested in her own impressions about St Helena, I am not interested in the Island's history or geography or what others might have thought about it. It is Napoleon that concerns me and when I purchased the book I though it would be about Napoleon's journey to the Island and his last days there. Instead it was the author's journey to the island in the 90's and her own days , which does not interest me and I doubt if it would be interesting to anyone bet herself. It was a real disappointment.


Nizhniy Novgorod

© FAB Russia, 2003-2005

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