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.
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