The Last Emperor of Mexico

Edward Shawcross


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5 January 2023
ISBN: 9780571360581
336 pages

From the publisher

The bizarre and little known story of how a hubristic Archduke became the puppet Emperor of Mexico – with tragic results and pivotal historical consequences for Europe and America.

‘Hilarious, heartbreaking and utterly extraordinary.’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times Books of the Year

‘Superbly entertaining.’ Financial Times

‘Jaw-dropping.’ Sunday Times

‘Fascinating.’ Guardian

‘Gripping.’ The Times

‘Terrific . . . A page-turning history of imperial hubris and nemesis, deceit and delusion, love and betrayal on a grand scale.’ Sunday Times

In 1864, a young Austrian archduke by the name of Maximilian crossed the Atlantic to assume a faraway throne. He had been lured into the voyage by a duplicitous Napoleon III. Keen to spread his own interests abroad, the French emperor had promised Maximilian a hero’s welcome. Instead, he walked into a bloody guerrilla war. With a head full of impractical ideals – and a penchant for pomp and butterflies – the new ‘emperor’ was singularly ill-equipped for what lay in store.

This is the vivid history of this barely known, barely believable episode – a bloody tragedy of operatic proportions, the effects of which would be felt into the twentieth century and beyond.