"A boy's best friend is his mother." In this case, the boy is the remarkable Napoleon Bonaparte, "Emperor of the French" and prototypical "great man of History," for better and for worse. The mother is the equally remarkable Letezia Ramolino Buonoparte (1751(?)- 1836), Corsican housewife, mother of eight rambunctious children, widow at age 38, and model of the quietly shrewd Mediterranean matriarch.

Nicely written biography, coming in under 200 pages - though quite clearly author Gilbert Martineau (who was for many years offical French consul on St. Helena) is strongly biased in Napoleon's favor. Just because "Madame Mere" overlooked her son's faults doesn't mean that 21st century readers should.


Madame Mere

  • 1978 John Murray

Empire Books

35 Belvedere Drive

Warwick RI 02889


Sign up for our newsletter