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A new interpretation of Emma Hamilton's role in history deposes the traditional version, suggests instead that ""not for patriotism; not for love of Nelson"" but to please the Queen of Naples, Marie Caroline, a long overlooked friendship, she was instrumental in using Nelson to fight the French. If this is the initial Premise, the proof here is a little suppositious, and this new biography- while stressing her intimacy with the Queen- retells the life of Lady Hamilton largely to her discredit. Only her beauty remains undisputed. Of vulgar origins, groomed by Charles Greville who then palmed her off on his wealthy uncle, the solemn, aging Sir William Hamilton, Emma is taken to the court of Marie Caroline in Naples during the ""climacteric season"" of her life when both her youth and her power were dimming. Enlisting- for the Queen-Nelson's support against the French who threatened Bourbon Naples, Emma also won his love, which here is seen as only an accessory to her vanity. Nelson, assisting the Hamiltons- and the royal family- in their escape from Naples to Palermo, finally left for England with his Emma, now given to extravagances and excesses, and she is justly abandoned as Hamilton withdraws from the triangular relationship, and Nelson meets a hero's death at sea..... The authors provide an enjoyable entertainment- largely in its malice, and the jacket- while it also does little for Lady Hamilton- will do even less for the book.

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 1958
Publisher: Roy