The Blog


Markham & Reilly – The Next Chapter?

Well I spoke to JDM for the first time in a long time yesterday and we discussed doing a new podcast – about American politics. JDM was ranting about Obama’s inauguration and ending filibuster on Facebook and I thought it might make an interesting podcast. Maybe a one-off, but perhaps a new series?

Even though I’m not an American, I have a deep interest in American politics, as much of it affects all of us in some way or another, also because successful political ideas developed in the USA usually make their way into Australian politics in some watered-down form. Also, I’m married to an American, have American in-laws that I like, and so what affects them also affects me.

Anyhoo…. what would you think about a new show from Markham-Reilly in the near future?



Was Typhus Responsible For Napoleon’s 1812 Defeat?

According to author Stephan Talty, Napoleon’s Grand Armee was defeated in Russia during the 1812 campaign, not by Kutusov, the early onset of Winter or the burning of Moscow – but by lice.

For further reading: The Illustrious Dead: The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleon’s Greatest Army by Stephen Talty.


Coded Napoleon Kremlin Letter Sold

“I will blow up the Kremlin on the 22nd at three in the morning.”

So wrote Napoleon in this coded letter dated October 20, 1812 and sold at auction this week for 187,500 euros ($233,800). It had been expected to fetch between 10,000 and 15,000 euros but they didn’t expect the last-minute arrival of Markham with his entourage trailing behind them chariots full of Canadian gold.

The news sources are claiming that Napoleon followed through with his threat. In a coded email to me, Markham says “Leave it to the Brits to keep lying about Napoleon though, as he did not keep his promise to blow up the Kremlin and did not destroy the walls and towers as the article says.” I’ve asked him for clarification. My agents will ride like the wind on fresh horses to deliver this message to him over the next month. Stay tuned for his response, sometime early 2013.

Watch “WATERLOO” Online!

waterloo film online napoleon
Rod Steiger.

Christopher Plummer.

Orson Welles.

Sergey Bondarchuk’s 1970 film WATERLOO may have flopped at the box office. It may have killed Stanley Kubrick’s chances of making his own Napoleon film. It may be flawed in many ways. Yet it is also wonderful in many ways. Who can ever forget Steiger as Napoleon saying “I found the crown of France lying in the gutter and I picked it up…. WITH MY SWORD!”

Well now you can watch the entire film on YouTube for free!

Markham On Russian TV!

David shot me a link to this recent interview he did on Russian television about Napoleon! It runs for 24 minutes and explores whether Napoleon was a hero or a villan. As you’d expect, David laid out the facts, clearly and simply.

Unfortunately I can’t find any embed code, but you can check the video out on RT.


1000 Likes = New Show!

Okay folks, to celebrate Napoleon’s birthday, I’m going to make you a promise – when the Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast Facebook page gets to 1000 likes, I will hold JDM down and FORCE him to record a new episode with me!

Do we have a deal??

Now I know there are a lot more than 1000 of you out there who listen (or have listened) to the show, and yet our Facebook page only has 247 likes as of today. So…. get to it if you want to hear JDM’s sonorous tones in your microphone one more time!

Click below to like the show!

Top 10 Napoleon Bonaparte Quotes

To celebrate Napoleon’s 243rd birthday (August 15), I thought I’d bring you some of my favourite quotes from the man. Feel free to share yours in the comments section!

  1. “Death is nothing; but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.”

  2. “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.”

  3. “I saw the crown of France laying on the ground, so I picked it up with my sword.”

  4. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of coloured ribbon.”

  5. “He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.”

  6. “Victory belongs to the most persevering.”

  7. “History is a set of lies agreed upon.”

  8. “If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.”

  9. “Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest.”

  10. “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”


Napoleon’s Letter To Las Cases

Oh how the Brits love to poke fun at Napoleon! Two hundred years has not dampened their joy in pinching his cheeks.

Via The Guardian:

Last month, one of just a handful of letters written by Napoleon in the language of his arch-enemies and sent to De las Cases for comment was sold at auction for $400,000, more than five times its anticipated price.

The one-page manuscript casts new light on Napoleon’s melancholy exile, which ended with his death, aged 51, in 1821. But it will also strike a chord with any teacher tasked with correcting students’ writing.

De las Cases recorded his time as imperial language teacher in his memoir and he says that Napoleon’s writing practice, often composed, like this letter, during sleepless nights, was returned corrected without delay.

But where did De las Cases start? The 125 word text presents numerous language errors from grammar mistakes to lexis transferred from French.

It opens: “Count Las Case. It is two o’clock after midnight. I have enow [sic] sleep, I go then finish the night into cause with you…” “Cause” has been borrowed from the French word causer meaning to chat.


The actual text of the letter reads:

Count Lascases
it is two o’clock after midnight, j have enow sleep j go then finish the night into to cause with you… he shall land above seven day a ship from Europa that we shall give account from anything who this shall have been even to day of first january thousand eight hundred sixteen. you shall have for this ocurens a letter from lady Lascases that shall you learn what himself could carry well if she had coceive the your
but j tire myself and you shall have of the ade at conceive any … upon this j intercede god etc etc
Longwood this nine march thousand eight hundred and sixteen after the nativity of our saviour

Now, here’s man in his early 50s, recently Emperor of The French, master of his domain, military genius, sponsor of the Code Napoleon – who has been imprisoned on a dank island in the middle of nowhere, removed from his land, his people, his family, his friends – and yet who has the presence of mind to try to learn, not just a new language, but the language of his enemies and wardens!

How many people in their 50s try to learn a new language?

Instead of poking fun at his attempts to learn English, we should be saluting his boldness. As ever, Napoleon refused to sit still, even when his lucky star had finally deserted him.

Show some respect!

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