Hutchinsons sent me a proof copy of Marc Mulholland’s The Murderer of Warren Street, coming out in May, for a ‘puff’ on the dust cover. It’s about the life and grisly death of one of the French proscrits, or exiles, whom I came across when I was researching my The Refugee Question in Mid-Victorian Politics. It’s outstandingly good, so I sent them the following:
This is far more than a biography of Emmanuel Barthélemy, the mid-19th century French revolutionary, exile, atheist, duellist and murderer, who ended his career in effigy in Madame Tussaud’s Chamber of Horrors, after his public execution in London in 1855. (‘Now I shall know if I’m right’, were his last words as the noose was put around his neck.) His true story is worthy of a sensational novel, and is recounted almost novelistically, but also sympathetically – despite appearances, he was a man of honour – in this superbly-researched book. In addition, The Murderer of Warren Street serves as a brilliant introduction to Barthélemy’s revolutionary times in France and in Britain; featuring some eminent bit-players – Marx and Engels among them – and steeped in the very different cultural milieus of those two nations. It also carries some resonances for our own terrorised age.
I’m hoping I get it for review. If so, you’ll be able to read more about Barthélemy there. – ‘Now I shall know if I’m right’. I’ve always thought that was pretty cool.