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Napoleon and the Rebel

A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power

Marcello Simonetta and Noga Arikha

Palgrave Macmillan Trade

Lucien was the most talented of the Bonaparte brothers, who not only can be credited for helping Napoleon seize power, but who also had a promising political career of his own. He was a romantic, an idealist, and an anti-monarchist whose love for Alexandrine, the woman he married in spite of Napoleon’s objections, caused him to fall out of favor with his powerful brother. Here, authors Simonetta and Arikha draw from a massive trove of first-hand documents, allowing them to present a rare, detailed portrait of this remarkable dynasty that reveals Emperor Napoleon and his family at their most intimate and vulnerable moments. The turbulent relationship between Napoleon and his favorite brother, Lucien, of whom the emperor said, “of all my siblings, he was the most gifted, and the one who hurt me most,” creates the perfect springboard to illustrate the bloody power struggles, romantic idealism, and corruption that characterized nineteenth-century Europe, as well as the rise and fall of the French empire.


REVIEWS

Praise for Napoleon and the Rebel

"A delightful read." --Times Literary Supplement

“A highly enjoyable portrait of a remarkable clan… The book contains wonderful details.”—Caroline Moorehead, The New York Review of Books.

“The authors’ tenacity has been rewarded by discovering new documents that illuminate Lucien’s personality…Their book offers a passionate adventure.”–Benedetta Cravieri, La Repubblica

"Simonetta and Arikha admirably draw on several primary sources to provide a revealing portrait of a man less-renowned but more virtuous than his older sibling." --Booklist
 
"Napoleon’s recalcitrant, republican younger brother has his say in this lively reconstruction of the Bonaparte family’s accession to power...A fresh piece of turbulent French history."--Kirkus Reviews

“Simonetta and Arikha have let the younger Bonaparte tell his side of the remarkable story… insightful and engaging.”—Library Journal

Napoleon and the Rebel is first and foremost a gripping piece of detective work by two outstanding historians. Overturning everything we knew about Lucien Bonaparte, Simonetta and Arikha have written an entirely fresh and absorbing account about the brother who helped Napoleon to power only to be cast aside by him and obliterated from history.”—Amanda Foreman, author of The Duchess

“Based on documents suppressed and forgotten for over a century, "Napoleon and the Rebel" reveals at last the fascinating story of the most independent, misunderstood, and oddly idealistic of Napoleon's siblings.  Lucien Bonaparte vaulted older brother Napoleon to supreme political [leadership] in France--and then spent the rest of his life chafing against his absolute power.  [Lucien's] life unfolds in a series of passions, intrigues, and acts of fraternal rebellion that reveal the underbelly of a dazzling empire that was very much a family affair” - Tom Reiss, author of The Orientalist

“Lucien was the brightest and most talented of the Bonaparte brood, and the only one with the guts to stand up to Napoleon. The epic confrontation with his tyrannical older brother over the woman he loved - the beautiful and tender Alexandrine - ranks as the mother of all Corsican family feuds. Kudos to Marcello Simonetta and Noga Arikha for telling this riveting story of sibling rivalry with immediacy, vividness and writerly panache. And for bringing Lucien out of the shadow of the Imperial Bully at last.” –Andrea di Robilant, author of A Venetian Affair

“Lucien Bonaparte is not a character who figures very strongly in most discussions of the Bonaparte family. As well as being an enjoyable read, Napoleon and the Rebel is therefore an interesting addition to the literature.”--Charles Esdaile, author of Napoleon’s Wars

"The authors have brought to light valuable new material on this fascinating member of this supremely fascinating family."—David A. Bell, author of The First Total War

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Marcello Simonetta and Noga Arikha

  • Marcello Simonetta has a PhD in Italian literature and history from Yale. His first book, The Montefeltro Conspiracy: A Renaissance Mystery Decoded, solves one of the most scandalous crimes of the Renaissance: the attempted assassination of the celebrated Medici brothers. He lives in New York.

    Noga Arikha has a PhD in history and philosophy from the Warburg Institute. She has taught at Bard College and the Bard Graduate Center. Her first book, Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours, was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and one of the The Washington Post’s Best Nonfiction Books of 2007. She lives in New York.

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    Napoleon and the Rebel

    A Story of Brotherhood, Passion, and Power

    Marcello Simonetta and Noga Arikha

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