A Political Life
by Steven Englund
Scribner, $35, 543 pp.
In 1840, Napoleon’s body was brought back to Paris from St. Helena, the island where he died nineteen years earlier. Eventually the emperor’s remains were covered with a massive slab of red porphyry and displayed under the dome of the Invalides, one of the grandest royal tombs in Europe. His legacy has not been so easy to contain. In 1851, his nephew, calling himself Napoleon III, established a second empire that collapsed after its...
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