Napoleon & St Helena

Johannes Willms / Translated by John Brownjohn

‘Willms is a wry, entertaining commentator, properly suspicious of hagiography’ 
The Guardian

‘A fascinating romp through Napoleonic history’ 
The New York Times

‘The actual traveller to the island, and the armchair traveller, planning a visit, will both find this charming book of interest.’ 
Paul Chamberlain, author of Great Empire


The island of St Helena, in the South Atlantic, is at one and the same the most remote (more than 2000km from the nearest major land mass) and most famous island in the world, due to it being the final place of exile of Napoleon Bonaparte, a role it was chosen for because of its very remoteness from Europe.

St Helena today is a unique colonial survivor, almost without an economy of its own. Lacking an airport, the only regular link is by the Royal Mail Ship St Helena, the last of her type, and the inhabitants are dependent on the support of the British government. Almost the only thing going on for the island is its history, with what tourists there are attracted by Napoleon’s last residence, now maintained by the French government. This fascinating book is truly an account of a visit to ‘the last place on earth’.

JOHANNES WILLMS, born 1948, is a historian and journalist. He was in charge of the editorial office at ZDF (German TV Channel) and later the feature section at the Süddeutsche Zeitung. His previous works includes books on German and French history.

JOHN BROWNJOHN is an experienced and versatile literary translator with almost 200 books to his credit. These range from popular bestsellers like The Night of the Generals and The Boat (Das Boot) to the political memoirs of Willy Brandt and scholarly studies such as Martin-Gregor-Dellin’s definitive biography of Richard Wagner. His work has won him critical acclaim and numerous awards on both sides of the Atlantic, including the Schlegel-Tieck Prize (three times), the US PEN, and the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize for Marcel Beyer’s The Karnau Tapes and Thomas Brussig’s Heroes Like Us.

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