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Reviews

  • Glorious . . . Scurr has achieved something remarkable: a completely original book on a completely unoriginal subject. But then she is herself a truly remarkable writer, one of the most gifted non-fiction authors alive

    Simon Schama, Financial Times
  • Ruth Scurr, a politics don at Cambridge University, has ingeniously somehow found an entirely new prism through which to view Napoleon: as a horticulturist . . . an immensely satisfying and captivating book . . . charming and intelligent

    Andrew Roberts, Times Literary Supplement
  • Ruth Scurr's imaginative take on Napoleon's life serves up fascinating insights into the man's behaviour and motivations, as well as an illuminating account of those around him. The gardening angle is fresh and perfectly developed; to garden is to control and manipulate, an empire builder does the same

    Penelope Lively
  • An elegant prose stylist, Scurr is above all a fabulous historian, and a vivid storyteller with a novelist's eye for engaging detail . . . Napoleon emerges not in his warrior guise but in his full humanity . . . History's palimpsest emerges in these pages too, through Scurr's accounts of modern-day places shaped by Napoleon's vision: while his empire is the stuff of history books, his legacy as a landscape genius endures

    Claire Messud, Harper’s Magazine
  • Napoleon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows is history at its most enjoyable, a discursive ramble along its edges, away from matters of power and into its byways . . . Napoleon is a delight to read and must have been an immense pleasure to research

    Caroline Moorehead, Literary Review

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