A couple of Canadian whizzkids recently released the results of a breakthrough textual analysis they did on The Book Of Mormon and highlighted the books they believe LDS founder Joseph Smith used as inspiration when he wrote the book (Mormons, of course, believed he magically translated it from hieroglyphics on ancient golden plates, left by ancient Jews who arrived in North America before the Native Americans, using two magic stones… but that’s another story).
Now this is fascinating news in its own right. But what’s even more of interest to us is that one of the books they claimed he used was a book written in 1809 about Napoleon!
It’s a book I confess I’ve never heard of before – “The First Book of Napoleon, the Tyrant of the Earth: Written in the 5813th Year of the World” by Modeste Gruau who, it seems from the little information I’ve been able to find out about him, was only fourteen years old when he wrote it.
According to this Wikipedia page (translated from the French by Google), Modeste Gruau de La Barre, born in La Chartre-sur-le-Loir on 25 March 1795, is known for being loyal to Karl-Wilhelm Naundorff, a Prussian watchmaker, who claimed to be the real Louis XVII .
Anyway, back to the book. It is written in the style of the King James Bible and tells the story of “the Tyrant Napoleon” in dramatic style. You can read the whole thing, thanks to Archive.org and Google Books, but here’s the opening verse. Anyone who is familiar with The Book Of Mormon (I’m married to an ex-mo and have spent lots of time in Utah) will recognise the style immediately.
Has anyone heard about this book or its author before? Can anyone shed light on who he was and how he managed to write this thing at 14 years of age?