'From Dictator to Democrat? The ‘Black Legend’ of Louis-Napoleon and Subsequent Historical Revisionism,'

Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) Programme Leader for Undergraduate History Dr. W. Jack Rhoden has penned a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of French History.

The chapter, titled 'From Dictator to Democrat? The ‘Black Legend’ of Louis-Napoleon and Subsequent Historical Revisionism,' delves into the complex legacy of Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of the infamous Napoleon Bonaparte, who ascended to the French imperial throne in his own right and held sway for a longer tenure than his uncle.

Rhoden introduces students to what has been written about Napoleon III whilst helping them to understand how changing contexts and political viewpoints led historians to come to vastly different conclusions about him and his rule, with some calling him a despot and proto-fascist, and others considering him to be the 'good' Napoleon and forerunner of post-war European integration. Rhoden's chapter helps students navigate this minefield and encourages them to think about how contemporary concerns impact academic history writing and interpretations.

Jack Rhoden said:"It was a great opportunity to be part of this project and I'm very grateful to the editor Dave Andress for all his efforts in bringing together and organising such a large group of French historians.

"I'm really keen for students to read my chapter and learn more about the continued relevance of Napoleon III and the historical debates that have raged around him, particularly in our present era of equally controversial political leaders such as Putin, Erdogan and Trump. In fact elements of this research are already integrated into the undergraduate history module: Democratic Dictators."

Find more information on the book here.

Discover History at BGU here.

26th January 2024

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