In my quest to find Napoleon, I’m exploring places such as Corsica, Paris, Brienne and St Helena.  Equally important, I’m finding him in written words: his own, those of his companions and his enemies, and those of historians who favor or condemn him.  My library—physical and electronic—grows day by day. In fact, it’s said that more books have been written about Napoleon that any other person.  My husband keeps hoping I won’t buy them all.

If you’re already a Napoleon fan, leave a comment suggesting your favorite books.

Here’s just a sampling of what I’ve been reading:

Abbott, John S.C. Napoleon at St Helena, Interesting Anedotes and Remarkable Conversations of the Emperor. New York, Harper & Brothers, 1855.

Bertrand, Henri-Gratien.  Napoleon at St Helena, The Journals of General Bertrand from January to May of 1821. New York, Doubleday & Company, 1952.

Balcombe, Betsy, with introduction by J. David Markham.  To Befriend an Emperor, Betsy Balcombe’s Memoirs of Napoleon on St Helena. Welwyn Garden City, UK, Ravenhall Books, 2005.  Reprint from 1844.

Blaufarb, Rafe.  Napoleon, Symbol for an Age, A Brief History with Documents. New York, Bedford/St Martins, 2008.

Bonaparte, Napoleon and Szymon Askenazy.  Manuscrits de Napoléon en Pologne, 1793-1795. Warsaw, Szymon Askenazy and Jérôme Wilder, 1929.  In French and Polish.

Bonaparte, Napoleon and Somerset de Chair. Napoleon on Napoleon, An Autobiography of the Emperor. London, Cassell, 1992.

Bonaparte, Napoleon and Alain Coelho.  Napoléon Bonaparte Oeuvres littéraires. Nantes, France, Le Temps Singulier, 1979.  In French.

Bonaparte, Napoleon and Diana Reid Haig.  The Letters of Napoleon to Josephine. Welwyn Garden City, UK, Ravenhall Books, 2004.

Bonaparte, Napoleon and Peter Hicks.  Clisson and Eugénie, A Love Story. London, Gallic Books, 2009.

Bonaparte, Napoleon and Jean Tulard.  Oeuvres littéraires et écrits militaries, 1789-1796, Tome II. Paris, Société Encyclopédique Française, 1967.

Bonaparte, Napoleon. Correspondance générale, Tome premier, Les Apprentissages 1784-1797. Paris, Fayard et la Fondation Napoléon, 2004.  In French.

Bonaparte, Napoleon.  Correspondance générale, Tome cinquième, Boulogne, Trafalgar, Austerlitz, 1805. Paris, Fayard et la Fondation Napoléon, 2008.  In French.

Boswell, James.  The Journal of a Tour to Corsica. Chappaqua, NY, Turtle Point Press, 2010. Modern reprint of 1768 edition.

Carrington, Dorothy.  The Dream-Hunters of Corsica. London, Orion House, 1995.

Carrington, Dorothy.  Napoleon and his Parents, On the Threshold of History. Nyew York, Dutton, 1990.

Cronin, Vincent.  Napoleon Bonaparte, An Intimate Biography. New York, William Morris & Co, 1972

Dwyer, Philip.  Napoleon, The Path to Power 1769-1799. London, Bloomsbury, 2007.

Falk, Avner.  Napoleon Against Himself, A Psycobiography. Charlottesville, VA, Pitchstone Press, 2007.

Kauffmann, Jean-Paul.  The Black Room at Longwood, Napoleon’s Exile on Saint Helena. New York, Four Walls Eight Windows, 1999.

Korngold, Ralph.  The Last Years of Napoleon, His Captivity on St Helena. New York, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1959.

Les Cases. Emmanuel-Auguste-Dieudonné.  Memorial de Sainte Hélène, Journal of the Private Life and Conversations of the Emperor Napoleon at St Helena. Memphis, General Books, 2010.  Reprint of 1823 edition.

Leys, Simon.  The Death of Napoleon. London, Pan Books Limited, 1993.

Ludwig, Emil.  Napoleon. New York, Random House, 1915.

Marchand, Louis-Joseph.  In Napoleon’s Shadow, Memoirs of the Valet and Friend of the Emperor 1811-1821. San Francisco, Proctor Jones Publishing, 1998.  First English language publication of the complete memoir.

Marcaggi, Jean-Baptiste.  Napoléon Bonaparte, Une Jeunesse Corse. Malakoff, France, Le Rubicon Editeur, 2010.  Modern reprint with new illustrations of early twentieth century book; in French.

Markham, David J.  Napoleon and Doctor Verling on St Helena. South Yorkshire, Pen and Sword, 2005.

Markham, David J. Napoleon for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ, Wiley Publishing, 2005

Masson, Frédéric.  Napoleon, Lover and Husband. Akron, Ohio, Saalfield Publishing Company, 1907.

Montholon, Charles-Tristan.  History of the Captivity of Napoleon at St Helena, Vol 1 & 2. London, Henry Colburn Publisher, 1846.

Muzi, Jean.  Contes traditionnels de Corse. Toulouse, France, MILAN, 1996. In French.

O’Meara, Barry Edward.  Memoirs of the Military and Political Life of Napoleon Bonaparte From His Origin to His Death on the Rock of St Helena. Hartford, UK, 1822.

Rose, John Holland.  The Life of Napoleon I. London, G. Bell and Sons, 1910.

Roseberry, Lord.  Napoleon, The Last Phase. New York & London, Harper & Brothers, 1900.

Schon, Alan.  Napoleon Bonaparte. New York, HarperCollins, 1997.

Usher, Thomas and Mills, Nelson.  Napoleon Banished, The Journeys to Elba and to St Helena recorded in the Letters and Journal of two British naval officers. London, Rodale Press, 1955.

Young, Norwood. The Growth of Napoleon, A Study in Environment. London, John Murray, Albemarle St, 1910.




  • July 3, 2011 - 9:37 am | Permalink

    Hello Margaret
    If interested in Napoleon’s captivity in St. Helena, I can recommend my book of course 🙂 as I believe you understand French language =>
    It is based almost entirely on manupscripts research, to avoid the mistakes that have been carried over the past 150+ years from one printed book to another. “Back to the sources”, in other words. On the web site, you will find an extensive bibliography as well as links to available printed materials in French and in English, on the St. Helena topic.
    Best wishes for your book on Napoleon

  • mrodenberg
    July 6, 2011 - 11:21 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Albert. I had heard about your book and I am interested in reading it. Yes, I understand French, although it does take me much longer to read a book in French than English! Have you been to St Helena? It is well worth the visit, even with all the time involved in travel to get there.

  • July 7, 2011 - 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I am pleased to see that you listed the book I lent you, Margaret! What did you think of Korngold’s account of Napoleon’s captivity? Was it helpful for your project?

    Hope to see you soon! Alix

  • February 22, 2012 - 11:29 am | Permalink

    I have written about the Bonapartes in Italy including Letizia, daughter of Luciano. Will be visiting Corsica and Elba in Sept. so glad I found your lovely website.

  • mrodenberg
    February 23, 2012 - 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Mary Jane! I envy you your visits to Corsica and Elba.Right now, I’m postponing foreign travel to stay at home and work on my novel. That’s also why I’ve been neglectful in updating my blog this month. If possible, please send me links to your writing about Letizia. All the best, Margaret

  • Seth Pintos
    April 26, 2012 - 2:39 am | Permalink

    Hello, you have helped me very much finding books on Napoleon. If you don’t mind I was wondering what book is on top of Alan Schoms’? And what book is in the background just above Max Gallos’ book with the painting of Napoleon. Thank you

  • Margaret
    May 6, 2012 - 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Hello Margaret, I wish to thank you for the slideshows of the places Napoleon has lived. Nearly 50 years ago I was seized with great interest in Revolutionary France. If one believes in reincarnation, it could be said that an aspect of my soul could have been Napoleon. I have not been able to find an internet source for the volumes he wrote while on St. Helena. Do you know of any such source?
    With kind regards,

  • mrodenberg
    May 21, 2012 - 8:59 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Seth,

    I apologize for not responding more quickly. I have been neglecting my website while working diligently on completing my novel. In answer to your questions: the book on top on Alan Schom’s is Napoléon Bonaparte, la littérature enivrée, compiled by Paul Noirot and published by Maisonneuve & Rose, Editions In Forma. It’s an anthology (in French) featuring authors ranging from Napoleon himself to Chateaubriand to Proust to Scott. The book on the library shelf is The National Gallery of Art Collection, Washington, DC. The text is by John Walker and the publisher is Harry N Abrams Inc, New York, 1984. The painting a life-size oil by Jacques-Louis David, painted in 1812 shortly before the Russian Campaign. It’s quite fabulous.

    I hope this helps, and that you will continue to visit my website. As of this week, I’ll start adding more to it again.

    All the best,

  • mrodenberg
    May 21, 2012 - 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Hello, fellow Margaret,

    I have never found a single source, but, if you haven’t tried it yet, do go to, through which you may find many digital books or links to other sources. In the end, I cobbled together in French and in English books from numerous sources,including much of the work Napoleon dictated to his generals and secretary Las Cases while they were on the island.

    Napoleon’s nature was so complex that I like to think that we all carry a bit of him in us. I’m glad you enjoyed the slide shows. It’s been a great privilege for me to visit all these remarkable places.

    All the best,

  • vince
    January 22, 2013 - 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Just found your site as I was trying to find out who Norwood young was and his pedigree as a historian. I find his ‘growth’ very well written and I see that you recommend it too. Do y know anything about him?

  • mrodenberg
    February 13, 2013 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry but I do not have any special information about Norwood Young. I do find him somewhat British-centric and severe in his judgment of Napoleon, but I thoroughly enjoyed his book and use it as a reference.

  • Sheila Hagendorfer
    November 11, 2013 - 4:49 am | Permalink

    I have bee studying Napoleon since my first visit to Paris in 1956! Now studying for a BA in History, just for fun at 75 years old. One of my favourite books was “The Golden Millstones” that’s what the syblings were. Cannot remember any more so I hope you can find it. For my assignment I’m doing a reflective piece on my years of study of Napoleon and all those connected with him.
    Look forward to the book
    Sheila Hagendorfer

  • mrodenberg
    November 26, 2013 - 12:49 pm | Permalink

    That’s wonderful that you are working on a BA in History. I also have been a life-long learner and wouldn’t have it any other way.
    I found (and bought) The Golden Millstones. It’s written by R.F Delderfield, whose other book Napoleon in Love was quite interesting. By the way, Golden Millstones costs about $10 through, a great source for used books you may want to try out.
    Keep in touch!

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