The Conversation

Front Cover
Arcade, 2013 - Fiction - 108 pages
Several years after the French Revolution, in the winter of 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte has to make a crucial decision: to keep the main ideals of the new France alive or to elevate the country into a powerful base by making it an empire and becoming emperor.

One evening at the Tuileries Residence in Paris, Second Consul Jean-Jacques Cambacérès, a brilliant law scholar and close ally, listens as Napoleon struggles to determine what will be best for a country much weakened by ten years of wars and revolutions. Torn between his revolutionary ideals and his overwhelming longing for power, Napoleon Bonaparte declares that it can only be achieved by his taking the throne.

Bonaparte attempts to rally Cambacérès to his cause and maps out in great detail why France must become an empire, with him as its Emperor. The Republican hero desires only one thing: to forge his legend during his lifetime. France has arrived at a crossroads, and Bonaparte must break many barriers to fulfill his ambition. “An empire is a Republic that has been enthroned,” he declares. And so, through the night, French history is made. With historical erudition, d’Ormesson remarkably captures the man’s vertigo of triumph, which ultimately leads to his fall.

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THE CONVERSATION: The Night Napoleon Changed the World

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A lauded titan of French letters plumbs the intersection between character and despotism in a slender, tendentious imagining of a conversation between Napoleon and a trusted political ally.On a winter ... Read full review

About the author (2013)

Jean Bruno Wladimir François de Paule Le Fèvre d'Ormesson was born in Paris, France on June 16, 1925. He studied philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure. In 1950, he joined Unesco (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in Paris as the head of its international council for philosophy and humanistic studies. From 1974 to 1977, he was the publisher of Le Figaro, the conservative French daily newspaper. His first book, L'Amour Est un Plaisir, was published in 1956. He published 40 works of fiction during his lifetime including Goodbye and Thank You and La Gloire de l'Empire, which received the Académie Française Grand Prix award. As a member of the Académie Française, he sponsored the first woman to join its elite numbers. He died from a heart attack on December 5, 2017 at the age of 92.

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