Napoleon’s youngest brother, Jérôme, has over the centuries been portrayed as a military commander who was completely incompetent and unimportant to his famous sibling. This first biography of Jérôme by an American author utilizes many firsthand accounts ofJérôme’s abilities that have never before been available to readers in English, as well as archival material that has never been published in any language, to challenge this view. Focussing on the lesser-known theaters of operation from 1800 to the Russian campaign in 1812, this study completes the gaps in the military history of the Napoleonic Wars. As Lamar demonstrates, Jérôme was not responsible for the failure of Napoleon’s early maneuvers during the invasion of Russia, nor did he lose the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
Jérôme’s relationship with Napoleon was affected by his position as the youngest member of the Bonaparte family. Much of Emperor Napoleon I’s true nature can be seen through his dealings with Jérôme and his naval career. After discussing Jérôme’s experiences as the only Bonaparte to serve in the navy, Lamar detailsJérôme’s involvement in land campaigns, in such varied places as Silesia, Russia, and Waterloo. Another important aspect of Jérôme’s career was his leadership role as King of Westphalia. This objective account sheds new light on the life and accomplishments of one of the most maligned figures of the Napoleonic era.