Jonathan Keates

His Marmoreal Buttocks

Venus of Empire: The Life of Pauline Bonaparte

By

John Murray 304pp £20 order from our bookshop

Had Napoleon Bonaparte been less of a charlatan, more charming, better looking, and not so selfish, humourless and vindictive, he might never have become the ruler of an empire that, at its apogee, embraced most of Europe except for one tiresome little island on its northwestern corner. The more positive and admirable human qualities displayed by other members of his family were simply exploited by him. An amiable clan of minor Corsican gentry, the Bonapartes were happy enough to accept, in return, the surprising destinies allotted to each of them during Napoleon’s successive incarnations as commander-in-chief, First Consul and Emperor.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Jeremy Clarke on Red and White: An Unquenchable Thirst for Wine by ,
    • 'Englishmen Abroad in the Reign of Henry VIII'. Free lecture by Dr Susan Brigden, Thurs 18 Oct, 6.30pm Europe Hou… ,
    • It 'contains twists and near misses and bit-part players, everything you might expect from a true-crime story'. Ian… ,
    • Oh normally a week or two before the ceremony itself - so mid-November. ,
    • Ian Sansom reviews The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by… ,
    • 'It is hard to think of an economist who could craft such an elegantly readable account of postwar failure as this.… ,
    • Frederick Forsyth reviews The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by ,