A fascinating 'whodunit' with tales of intrigue and scandal.
The Apocalypse of Napoleon Bonaparte deals with his health from Waterloo when he was a fit and active man, until is death on St Helena almost six years later. Allowing the patients to speak for himself through the writings of the the doctors who actually attended him, it is the only hope left to us of arriving at the correct diagnosis of Napoleon's ills, and this is precisely what Dr Robert Richardson has done. His story is drawn from the day-to-day accounts of the four doctors to whom this applies. This detailed consideration of Napoleon's life on the island reads like a whodunit and contains plenty of intrigue and scandals concerning those around him and leads to the conclusion that the condition most apparent at the time of his death was a bleeding gastric ulcer. However, the most important thing the day-to-day history has to tell us is that Napoleon had become seriously dehydrated. The consequent metabolic effects resulted in what today might well be termed multiple organ failure.
This is a truly unique account of Napoleon's last days.
Robert Richardson qualified in medicine at Oxford University. He worked as editor for a medical publisher before becoming a freelance editor. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a committee member of the West Sussex History of Medicine Society. His other books include Heart and Scalpel, Through the Ages with Dr Baldassare and Napoleon's Ulcer. From the desk of the author, Dr Robert Richardson: The Apocalypse of Napoleon Bonaparte.
- Book Specifications
Sub Heading A Medical Biography of the Emporer's Last Years from Waterloo until his Death on St Helena ISBN 9781846890635 Author Dr Robert Richardson Binding Hardback Extent 292 pages, 234 x 156mm Illustrations 24pp colour plates Ebook No
"Dr Richardson weaves a fast-paced story involving all the characters who arrived on the island and who had some part to play in Napoleon's health, including the role of the Admiral Plampin's mistress! While this lady herself was not responsible for what happened or didn't happen, it was her presence on the island as the admiral's mistress that had such a malignant effect on the course of history... The Apocalypse of Napoleon Bonaparte is a very readable, informative and thought-provoking study of a period of Napoleon's life (and death) that has been the subject of much controversy over the years. The medical analysis presented here is logical and well-thought out. This book is a valuable addition to the story, and a good read as well. Recommended." First Empire
"For those interested in medical history, this book by Robert Richardson is an excellent read... This beautiful book is remarkably detailed, extremely well researched and gives rise to multiple intrigues which surrounded Napoleon's latter life." The Ulster Medical Society Journal
Fuller text below from the review by the The Ulster Medical Society Journal:
"For those interested in medical history, this book by Robert Richardson is an excellent read. Robert Richardson, who qualified in medicine at Oxford University, has become a freelance medical editor and has written a number of books on medical and surgical history. This book is a splendid insight to the latter years of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is superbly researched and gives remarkable detail of Napoleon's medical illnesses, especially in the latter years of his life. There is a remarkable chapter (Chapter 19) on the postmortem performed on 6th May 1821 of Napoleon... The remainder of the chapter describes the intrigue and the various versions of Napoleon's cause of death by those who surrounded him and the historians of that time (and following)... It was he who requested (demanded) that he should have an autopsy for the benefit of his son... It was stated that, throughout his illness, he never complained and kept his character to the last!
This beautiful book is remarkably detailed, extremely well researched and gives rise to multiple intrigues which surrounded Napoleon in latter life. For the serious students of medical history, the book is well referenced. I can recommend this book for those wanting a gentle read through medical history and a contemporaneous view of the times of the latter years of Napoleon. I would also recommend it for the student of medicine beginning his or her studies as an insight into the medical times of Napoleon and the remarkable description of his illness and of his autopsy in particular.
I enjoyed reading this text and can recommend it to a wide readership".
Professor Roy A J Spence
The Ulster Medical Society Journal
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