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A breakout biography of Louis-Napoleon III, whose controversial achievements have polarized historians. Considered one of the pre-eminent Napoleon Bonaparte experts, Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Alan Strauss-Schom has turned his sights on another in that dynasty, Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon) overshadowed for too long by his more romanticized forebear. In the first ful A breakout biography of Louis-Napoleon III, whose controversial achievements have polarized historians. Considered one of the pre-eminent Napoleon Bonaparte experts, Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Alan Strauss-Schom has turned his sights on another in that dynasty, Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon) overshadowed for too long by his more romanticized forebear. In the first full biography of Napoleon III by an American historian, Strauss-Schom uses his years of primary source research to explore the major cultural, sociological, economical, financial, international, and militaristic long-lasting effects of France's most polarizing emperor. Louis-Napoleon’s achievements have been mixed and confusing, even to historians. He completely revolutionized the infrastructure of the state and the economy, but at the price of financial scandals of imperial proportions. In an age when “colonialism” was expanding, Louis-Napoleon’s colonial designs were both praised by the emperor’s party and the French military and resisted by the socialists. He expanded the nation’s railways to match those of England; created major new transoceanic steamship lines and a new modern navy; introduced a whole new banking sector supported by seemingly unlimited venture capital, while also empowering powerful new state and private banks; and completely rebuilt the heart of Paris, street by street. Napoleon III wanted to surpass the legacy of his famous uncle, Napoleon I. In The Shadow Emperor, Alan Strauss-Schom sets the record straight on Napoleon III's legacy.


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A breakout biography of Louis-Napoleon III, whose controversial achievements have polarized historians. Considered one of the pre-eminent Napoleon Bonaparte experts, Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Alan Strauss-Schom has turned his sights on another in that dynasty, Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon) overshadowed for too long by his more romanticized forebear. In the first ful A breakout biography of Louis-Napoleon III, whose controversial achievements have polarized historians. Considered one of the pre-eminent Napoleon Bonaparte experts, Pulitzer Prize-nominated historian Alan Strauss-Schom has turned his sights on another in that dynasty, Napoleon III (Louis-Napoleon) overshadowed for too long by his more romanticized forebear. In the first full biography of Napoleon III by an American historian, Strauss-Schom uses his years of primary source research to explore the major cultural, sociological, economical, financial, international, and militaristic long-lasting effects of France's most polarizing emperor. Louis-Napoleon’s achievements have been mixed and confusing, even to historians. He completely revolutionized the infrastructure of the state and the economy, but at the price of financial scandals of imperial proportions. In an age when “colonialism” was expanding, Louis-Napoleon’s colonial designs were both praised by the emperor’s party and the French military and resisted by the socialists. He expanded the nation’s railways to match those of England; created major new transoceanic steamship lines and a new modern navy; introduced a whole new banking sector supported by seemingly unlimited venture capital, while also empowering powerful new state and private banks; and completely rebuilt the heart of Paris, street by street. Napoleon III wanted to surpass the legacy of his famous uncle, Napoleon I. In The Shadow Emperor, Alan Strauss-Schom sets the record straight on Napoleon III's legacy.

47 review for The Shadow Emperor: A Biography of Napoleon III

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brian Bridgeforth

    I have been waiting for a new book about Louis Napoleon to come out for a few years now and was pleased when I learned this book was to be published. It was worth the wait. Schom's style is clear and he takes time to explain the events surrounding Napoleon III in a manner that is easy to follow instead of just dropping them on the reader and expecting them to be well-read on the subject. This is a great book about a man who had more impact on the modern world than he is commonly given credit for I have been waiting for a new book about Louis Napoleon to come out for a few years now and was pleased when I learned this book was to be published. It was worth the wait. Schom's style is clear and he takes time to explain the events surrounding Napoleon III in a manner that is easy to follow instead of just dropping them on the reader and expecting them to be well-read on the subject. This is a great book about a man who had more impact on the modern world than he is commonly given credit for. I was happy to give it 5 stars, which I do not do that often.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Umair Muhajir

    Schom's book should be interesting, and at the outset, he sets out his intention to redeem (from a historical memory that has regarded him as little more than a bumbler with the good fortune to inherit the Bonaparte legacy) the man who, more than anyone else, made modern France. Unfortunately, it isn't: the book recounts events, but does little to provide insight, giving it the feel of a breathless catalog (the one exception is in Schom's treatment of the Second Empire's colonialism in Algeria, Schom's book should be interesting, and at the outset, he sets out his intention to redeem (from a historical memory that has regarded him as little more than a bumbler with the good fortune to inherit the Bonaparte legacy) the man who, more than anyone else, made modern France. Unfortunately, it isn't: the book recounts events, but does little to provide insight, giving it the feel of a breathless catalog (the one exception is in Schom's treatment of the Second Empire's colonialism in Algeria, where the author attempts to link the appalling crimes of the nineteenth century with intra-Algerian and Franco-Algerian migration patterns down to our day). Through it all, the reader isn't left with a great sense of Napoleon III as a person (Schom does far better with figures like the Emperor's half-brother Auguste de Morny, or Hausmann) -- a cardinal sin in a biography on such a well-documented life.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This provided quite a lot of information on an otherwise obscured portion of French and European history-the Second Empire and Napoleon III. Louis Napoleon and his Empress Eugenie oversaw the recreation of a modern Paris, the creation of the Suez Canal, the expansion of the French education system and the flourishing French artistic movements. This is a period in European history that has always remained in the shadows for me so I appreciated the detail in which it was presented. However, some o This provided quite a lot of information on an otherwise obscured portion of French and European history-the Second Empire and Napoleon III. Louis Napoleon and his Empress Eugenie oversaw the recreation of a modern Paris, the creation of the Suez Canal, the expansion of the French education system and the flourishing French artistic movements. This is a period in European history that has always remained in the shadows for me so I appreciated the detail in which it was presented. However, some of the grammar (especially the comma placement with run-on sentences) added some confusion and made this biography harder to get through. Still, I felt I learned an immense amount of information about the Second Empire and the state of the world in the mid to late 1800s and would recommend this to anyone with an interest in history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Elsey

    The author is more interested in other subjects within the book the the biography titled subject. It’s also too old fashioned a bio with no general historiography of the time period to create context.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    The Shadow Emperor: A Biography of Napoleon III is an interesting and fascinating read. I give it 4 stars.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Arvid Jakobsson

  7. 5 out of 5

    Skip Worrell

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ian

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liz Schomber

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Pierce

  11. 4 out of 5

    Paige Bowers

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Mittge

  14. 5 out of 5

    Doris Moore

  15. 4 out of 5

    St. Martin's Press Nonfiction

  16. 5 out of 5

    John Sinclair

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nissa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ron

  20. 4 out of 5

    Plethora

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  22. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Francie Grice

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Meeker

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Crago

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fleet Sparrow

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

  30. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  31. 4 out of 5

    Douglass Abramson

  32. 4 out of 5

    Terry Pearson

  33. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  35. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  37. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  38. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  39. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

  40. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Mcafee

  41. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Wagner

  42. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Kennedy

  43. 5 out of 5

    Esther

  44. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  45. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Tupy

  46. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Tornello

  47. 5 out of 5

    Matt Lohr

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