Napoleon Bonaparte: England's Prisoner by Frank Giles (Author)

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'My political life is over, and I proclaim my son Emperor of the French under the title of Napoleon II'. It was not to be. Napoleon's hopes, expressed in his declaration to the French people after his defeat at Waterloo, were vain.

On 13 July 1815, after the great battle, Napoleon dictated his famous letter to the Prince Regent. Avoiding any hint of surrender and claimed to come "like Themistocles to throw myself upon the hospitality of the British people - I put myself under the protection of their laws, which I claim from Your Royal Highness, as the most powerful, the most constant and the most generous of my enemies". Napoleon's idea of living peacefully in the English countryside was a pipedream.

The island of St Helena, to which the Royal Navy conveyed him, was an unappealing home. The respect accorded to him by the officers and men of the navy revealed, however, his sure touch with fighting men, and the magnetism he exerted even in defeat. Once in his "prison" of Longwood, Napoleon came under the supervision of its Governor Sir Hudson Lowe.

What really happened there? Was the fallen Emperor badly treated - perhaps even poisoned? Lowe has been reviled by some historians, but looking afresh at the evidence Frank Giles portrays him, though unattractive in many ways, in a more favourable light.

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