<JohnGabree.com (Some) Writing>

The Murder of Napoleon

by Ben Weider and David Hapgood (Berkley)
The Assassination of Frederico Garcia Lorca
by Ian Gibson (Penguin)

Review by John Gabree

Here are the results of two extraordinary efforts at historical research, the one aimed at discovering how and by whom the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was murdered, the other seeking to understand the context of repression in Nationalist Spain that made the death of an independent and progressive figure like the poet Garcia Lorca inevitable.

"The Murder of Napoleon" is deliberately cast in the form of a detective story. In alternating chapters, the authors describe the emperor’s last days on St. Helena and follow the later efforts of a Swedish dentist and a Scottish nuclear engineer to unravel the mystery of his death. It is the story of one of the most suspenseful episodes in the history of forensic medicine. It will appeal as strongly to etective buffs as to readers of history.

“The Assassination of Frederico Garcia Lorca” is a more serious if no less appealing work. At dawn on August 19, 1936, Spain's greatest modern poet was shot to death in a ditch in Viznar. "Garcia Lorca was eliminated, along with thousands of other victims, by a system of terror with the express purpose of crushing all possible resistance" to the authority of the fascists by the people of Grenada.

Gibson makes it feasible to understand the deeply corrosive effect of fascism on Spanish values and aspirations. But he goes further in an attempt to discover who gave the order to kill, laying the guilt squarely on the doorstep of the local Falangists.



<home> - <bio> - <creativity> - <links> - <writing>

I accept payment through PayPal!, the #1 online payment service!