In Napoleon's Shadow

The Memoirs of Louis-Joseph Marchand, Valet and Friend of the Emperor 1811–1821

Louis-Joseph Marchand

 
Date Published :
August 2018
Publisher :
Greenhill Books
Contributor(s) :
Jean Tulard
Language:
English
Illustration :
32 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Paperback
ISBN : 9781784382896
Pages : 832
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order
$42.95

Overview
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‘In 1811, twelve young men were chosen among the families in the Emperor’s personal service to serve as ushers in his apartments. My mother, attached to the household of the King of Rome as first nurse to the prince, requested this favour for me from the grand chamberlain, the Count de Montesquiou, and it was granted.’

Louis-Joseph Marchand’s intimate memoir of his time as Napoleon’s valet is the last of the significant Napoleonic manuscripts to be translated into English and a unique and precious insight into the last days of Napoleon’s Imperial project.

Serving alongside the Emperor from the apex of his reign and through his eventual demise, Marchand depicts, in remarkable detail, the Russian campaign, the campaigns of Germany and France, Napoleon’s exile to Elba and subsequent escape, his defeat at Waterloo.

Friend and confidante to the leader, Marchand was beside him at the Tuileries during the Hundred Days, and he was present to hear Napoleon’s last words, ‘France… my son… the army…’ on the island of St Helena.

This sincere and authentic testimony from a man with ‘nothing to hide, nothing to apologise for’ is both a meticulous historical record and a fresh personal perspective on Napoleon.

‘In this work’, Tulard remarks in his preface, ‘the Emperor speaks freely. Listen…..Marchand presents the somewhat familiar history of the Emperor's decline as completely new territory through conversations, fond stories and personal encounters'.

'Marchand's memoirs, republished in English for the first time in two decades, represent a truly irreplaceable contribution to Napoleonic scholarship. Beyond the Emperor as commander and conqueror, Marchand, from his privileged vantage point, illuminates Napoleon the man in rich and absorbing detail.' - John H Gill

About The Author
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Louis-Joseph Marchand was born in Paris in 1791 and served as first valet to Napoleon from 1811 until the Emperor's death in 1821. He compiled notes throughout his service and his memoir remained in private hands until 1952 when it was published in French.

Jean Tulard is an eminent French historian and editor, specialising in the history of cinema, the French Consulate and the Napoleonic era. He is a Professor at the Sorbonne and a member of the Institute of France. In 2010 he became Commander of the Légion d’honneur.

REVIEWS
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"Marchand's memoirs, republished in English for the first time in two decades, represent a truly irreplaceable contribution to Napoleonic scholarship. Beyond the Emperor as commander and conqueror, Marchand, from his privileged vantage point, illuminates Napoleon the man in rich and absorbing detail."

- John G. Hill

"The reader soon knows that the author was no modest household servant. For example, Marchand was chosen to record Napoleon’s Summary of Julius Caesar’s Wars, published in 1836. The emperor openly described Marchand as a friend and entrusted him with some of his most precious valuables. On his deathbed, Napoleon made Marchand a count, a title later confirmed by Napoleon III. This memoir is by a literate and knowledgeable man who fully realized he was writing about an era and a leader of great import."

- MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History

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