Louis Napoleon and the Second Empire

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Pickle Partners Publishing, Jul 11, 2017 - History - 378 pages
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An excellent one volume portrait of Napoleon III and the short-lived second French Empire which was brought to ruins by the 1870 Franco-Prussian war.

“ONCE again J. M. Thompson has given us a colorful, arresting, and interpretative account of a period of French history—this time of the Second Empire. In this instance, as in previous works, the author makes the biography of a man (Louis Napoleon) the vehicle for a history of a period, thereby infusing the warmth of a very human personality throughout the history of a complex and fateful era. Thus we follow the life of a man who followed his star of fate from youthful refugee to insurrectionist, prisoner, president, emperor, economic reformer, arbiter of a continent, prisoner-of-war, and, alas, to refugee again until death.

Nothing of the romance, the contrasts, the shaded significances is lost by the author's telling. Those who have read his French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte cannot fail to discern and appreciate the same trenchant pen and deft brush which restore life and odor to a much-told tale of the past. While Mr. Thompson does not attempt to conceal the faults and mistakes of the man, in the main he joins with some current revisionists in understanding (not justifying) the "crime of December 2nd" and crediting Napoleon Ili with constructive policies at home and abroad and exonerating him of the major responsibility for the outbreak of the war of 1870. The author rightly blames Bismarck and French public opinion of all classes for pushing Louis Napoleon into the war (p. 272) rather than just a small war party and the empress.”-Lynn M. Case

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THE PRETENDER 18311840 28
THE OUTLAW 18401848 53
THE PRESIDENT 18481852 80
THE EMPEROR 18521856 111
THE LIBERATOR 18561859 134
THE LIBERAL 18601869 179
THE FATALIST 18691870 228

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About the author (2017)

James Matthew Thompson (27 September 1878 - 1956) was an English clergyman, academic and noted historian.

Born the son of an Anglican reverend at Iron in Acton, Gloucestershire in 1878, he was raised and educated in the country before completing a degree in theology and philosophy at Oxford. This education was intended to prepare him for the Anglican clergy and he was duly ordained in 1903.

In 1906 he became Dean of Divinity at Magdalen College, Oxford. His deanship was controversial, chiefly because of Thompson’s theological writings, which challenged existing church doctrine and led several Anglican prelates to demand his replacement. He resigned as dean in 1915 but returned to Oxford after the war, primarily as a lecturer and tutor in modern history.

In the late 1920s Thompson began writing and publishing original research, focusing particularly on French history and the revolution, and went on to become one of Britain’s leading experts on the French Revolution.

He died in 1956.

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