Napoleon and Pozzo Di Borgo in Corsica and After, 1764-1821

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This is the first scholarly study of the intertwined careers in Corsica of Napoleon and his rival, Pozzo di Borgo,and of the feud that followed. It is based on essential and rare primary archival sources. This is the first account of Pozzo di Borgo as the Bonapartes' family lawyer. It provides fresh information on the Bonaparte family's lawsuits. It is based on exhaustive scrutiny of the private Pozzi Di Borgo family papers, particularly the Memoirs of C. A. Pozzo di Borgo, as well as contemporary documents from the Archives Nationales, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the Public Record Office, the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Corsican Departmental Archives, (and particularly the papers of the Royal Jurisdiction of Ajaccio), and Princeton University Library. What emerges is a portrait of the young Napoleon different from the conventional one, suggesting that he was much less important in Corsica than often portrayed. The outstanding importance of Pozzo di Borgo in Corsican politics and in the expulsion of the Bonapartes from Corsica is clearly established. The last chapter, drawing on the widest ever range of sources, revises the established account of the epochal struggle between Napoleon and Pozzo from 1796 to Napoleon's death, situating it in the context of international relations.


". . . the first major study of Pozzo di Borgo in English or French. . . . McErlean has an unrivalled knowledge not only of Pozzo di Borgo's papers and unpublished memoirs, but also of the customs and secrets of Corsica itself, the island at the heart of the story. . . . original, convincing, and elegant. . . this account of Pozzo di Borgo's early life will make the wait for the full, fat biography which McErlean promises seem intolerable." - The Spectator

". . . narrative history at its best. It fuses scholarly erudition and brilliant writing to illuminate the changing relationships between two great antagonists. . . . Since they participated in great events, the book is valuable not only to biographers of the two men, but also to all historians of Europe during the tumultuous revolutionary epoch in which they lived." - Harold T. Parker

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