The most recommended books about Corsica

Who picked these books? Meet our 9 experts.

9 authors created a book list connected to Corsica, and here are their favorite Corsica books.
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Book cover of Napoleon Bonaparte

James Charles Roy Author Of The Vanished Kingdom: Travels Through the History of Prussia

From my list on Prussia from different perspectives.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am what is euphemistically called an "independent scholar," meaning I have no academic affiliation, no straightforward road I must follow (in order, let’s say, to gain tenure), and no duty per se to follow a pre-ordained or politically correct point of view. But being a "freelance"  has obligations which I take very seriously. I feel that my job, in any subject I choose to pursue, is to engage the reader in a joint venture. I must instill in them the same enthusiasm I have for whatever I’m writing about, which in this case is the history of Prussia, and the state of this footprint on earth which war and ceaseless conflict have rearranged countless times. To do that, I usually take an often oblique and "off the radar" approach that I think will pull the reader along with me, making the journey for both of us something that matters.

James' book list on Prussia from different perspectives

James Charles Roy Why did James love this book?

This relatively recent biography of Napoleon, well researched and written, has Prussia all over it (tangentially), mostly because of the French emperor’s insatiably aggressive appetite, which involved all his neighbors diplomatically, socially, militarily, and economically. Everything Napoleon did had ramifications everywhere else, and it took a united Europe to thwart him. Prussia, along with Great Britain, was in the forefront of this effort. Marshal Blücher's Prussian forces, in fact, provided the last-minute, decisive intervention that led to Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1814, a pivotal moment in European and Prussia history

By Alan Schom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon Bonaparte as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A definitive biography of Bonaparte from his birth in Corsica to his death in exile on St Helena, this book examines all aspects of Bonaparte's spectacular rise to power and his dizzying fall. It offers close examination of battlefield victories, personal torments, military genius, Bonaparte's titanic ego and his relationships with the French government, Talleyrand, Wellington and Josephine. It is a consummate biography of a complex man.


Book cover of Selected Stories

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Five Moral Tales

From my list on short story novel collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, where I studied and published articles on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, one of the greatest short fiction collections. I have written and published a number of short stories myself. I even won a contest for one of them. The tale told around the campfire is probably the oldest literary form there is, much older than the novel. The best short fiction, I believe, can “pack everything that a novel can hold into a story,” as Jorge Luis Borges said, and this is the kind of short fiction I believe I have found.

Theodore's book list on short story novel collections

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

I like how de Maupassant, in this collection (like Balzac, only more succinctly), runs the gamut of society: two vagrants who live in a rowboat, milkmaids, nuns, soldiers, clerks, seamstresses, shop-owners, the elegant and fashionable, counts and countesses. Likewise he runs the gamut of tone from tragedy to romance to slapstick to farce to sophisticated wit. Each story is so different, one might suspect multiple authors, but for that unmistakable, to-the-point style ̶ and that perfect kicker at the end. De Maupassant is the wizard, some say the originator, of the modern short story. This is real literature in miniature.

By Guy de Maupassant, Brian Rhys (translator), Marjorie Laurie (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Selected Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A beautiful hardcover selection of the best works by one of the greatest short story writers in world literature

During his most productive decade, the 1880s, the French writer Guy de Maupassant wrote more than three hundred stories, notably including "The Necklace," "Boule de Suif," "The Horla," and "Mademoiselle Fifi." Marked by the psychological realism that he famously pioneered, the stories selected here take us on a tour of the human experience—lust and love, revenge and ridicule, terror and madness. Many take place in the author's native Normandy, but the settings range farther abroad as well, from Brittany and Paris…


Book cover of Culture Of Honor: The Psychology Of Violence In The South

John Shelton Reed Author Of Mixing It Up: A South-Watcher's Miscellany

From my list on on the South that you’ve probably never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written a couple of books about other subjects, but most of my professional life has been devoted to writing, speaking, and teaching about the South. I’ve been doing it ever since I went north to college and graduate school in the 1960s. My early books and articles were written as a sociologist, mostly for other sociologists, but in the 1970s I started writing what I learned to call “familiar essays” for a more general readership, and lately I’ve been writing about Southern foodways—three books about barbecue (so far), one of them a cookbook. I’ve also written several country songs (only one of them recorded).

John's book list on on the South that you’ve probably never heard of

John Shelton Reed Why did John love this book?

Much of this book by two psychologists covers familiar ground and some may find their explanation for what they found unpersuasive, but get this: When they brought white male undergraduates into the laboratory on a pretext and called them "asshole," Northern subjects laughed it off or ignored it, but Southern ones bristled. Subsequent tests showed that the Southerners had heightened blood levels of stress-related hormones and testosterone, but the Northerners did not. Moving the study of the South’s “culture of violence” to the physiological level was a remarkable achievement, but hardly anyone seems to have noticed.

By Richard E. Nisbett, Dov Cohen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Culture Of Honor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book focuses on a singular cause of male violence-the perpetrator's sense of threat to one of his most valued possessions, namely, his reputation for strength and toughness. The theme of this book is that the Southern United States had-and has-a type of culture of honor.


Book cover of The Twenty: One Woman's Trek Across Corsica on the GR20 Trail

Kathy Elkind Author Of To Walk It Is To See It: 1 Couple, 98 Days, 1400 Miles on Europe's GR5

From my list on strong women walking.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had always wanted a grand adventure and I’ve always loved reading about epic journeys. When I was a teen, I read an article in National Geographic about walking the Appalachian Trail and thought, I need to do that. I grew up in an outdoorsy family and married a man who loved the outdoors even more. But we never got to an adventure until we were empty nesters. In our late fifties we decided to walk 1400 miles from the cold North Sea to the warm Mediterranean on the legendary long-distance trail the GR5. After finishing our epic journey, I needed to share my love of European walking with others.

Kathy's book list on strong women walking

Kathy Elkind Why did Kathy love this book?

I love this adventure travel memoir about hiking across Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean, because the author and her husband who just turned sixty, inspire me to keep walking and adventuring for as long as possible.

The GR20 is one of the toughest trails in Europe and the author shows us with her determination and honesty how to persist. After reading this book, I’m excited to add the GR20 to my wish list of walks or at least dream about it. 

By Marianne C. Bohr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Twenty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Great for fans of: Suzanne Roberts's Almost Somewhere, Juliana Buhring's This Road I Ride.


Marianne Bohr and her husband, about to turn sixty, are restless for adventure. They decide on an extended, desolate trek across the French island of Corsica-the GR20, Europe's toughest long-distance footpath-to challenge what it means to grow old. Part travelogue, part buddy story, part memoir, The Twenty is a journey across a rugged island of stunning beauty little known outside Europe.


From a chubby, non-athletic child, Bohr grew into a fit, athletic person with an "I'll show them" attitude. But hiking The Twenty forces her to…


Book cover of Napoleon: The Song Of Departure

Gareth Williams Author Of Needing Napoleon

From my list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught about Napoleon for thirty years, having studied history at Cambridge. I’ve been fascinated by the Corsican outsider, who, thanks to the French Revolution, rose to dominate Europe, since I saw a china bust of him in his green Chasseurs uniform on my maternal grandparents’ sideboard. I always loved historical fiction and having retired into a locked-down world, I put my time on the Isle of Skye to good use and set about researching and writing the novel I had always said I would write. Re-reading old favourites and encountering new interpretations was a joy and certainly made compiling this list an enjoyable challenge!

Gareth's book list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head

Gareth Williams Why did Gareth love this book?

This is a fine work of fiction that forms but the first installment of a four-book masterpiece. Max Gallo was a herculean figure in French post-war life. In this volume, he tells the story of Napoleon’s life from his birth in Corsica to the moment in 1799 when he topples the ineffective Directory. I love this book because the author puts us inside Napoleon’s head. We think his thoughts and savour his words. He has put the flesh on the bones of history, conjuring a sympathetic tyro at times plagued by doubts but also willing to take daunting risks. This book made me realise Napoleon was more than an icon or an ogre, an Emperor, or a military genius; he was an outsider, he endured bullying, and he felt the same gamut of emotions as we do. I never looked at historical figures in the same way again.

By Max Gallo, William Hobson (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 15 May 1779, the second son of a prominent but impecunious Corsican family arrives at the gates of a royal military school at Brienne in the east of France. Not yet 10 years old, he barely speaks French. A fierce patriot, even at such a young age, French for him is the language of the oppressor - in 1769 France robbed Corsica of the independence it had won from Genoa - and his schoolmates waste no time making fun of him, his accent, his Italian-sounding name, Napoleone Buonaparte . . .

Within 20 years this solitary child has become…


Book cover of The Etruscan World

Sinclair Bell Author Of A Companion to the Etruscans

From my list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with ancient civilizations since my parents, amateur historians, moved our family to Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s, and we began to travel extensively around the Mediterranean, especially Greece, Italy, Egypt, and Jordan. I went on to study classical art and archaeology in graduate school in England, Scotland, and Germany, and excavated in Greece, Italy, and North Africa. My own research ranges widely, from the Etruscans to sport and entertainment in the Roman empire (about which I made a film with the Smithsonian, Rome’s Chariot Superstar). I currently live in Chicago, where I teach at a university. 

Sinclair's book list on the ancient, “mysterious” Etruscans

Sinclair Bell Why did Sinclair love this book?

This is a rich, encyclopedic-like collection of brief chapters about various aspects of Etruscan culture by all the major scholars (60!) in the field. If you are looking to gain access to Etruscan civilization by randomly reading about particular aspects—from art (the evidence of the earliest portraiture) to women’s lives to sport to engineering to trading contactsthen this is the book for you. All of the chapters are written very accessibly, andwhile shortthey are packed with information and helpful suggestions for further reading.

By Jean MacIntosh Turfa (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Etruscan World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Etruscans can be shown to have made significant, and in some cases perhaps the first, technical advances in the central and northern Mediterranean. To the Etruscan people we can attribute such developments as the tie-beam truss in large wooden structures, surveying and engineering drainage and water tunnels, the development of the foresail for fast long-distance sailing vessels, fine techniques of metal production and other pyrotechnology, post-mortem C-sections in medicine, and more. In art, many technical and iconographic developments, although they certainly happened first in Greece or the Near East, are first seen in extant Etruscan works, preserved in the…


Book cover of Boswell's Correspondence With the Honourable Andrew Erskine, and His Journal of a Tour to Corsica

Maggie Humm Author Of Radical Woman: Gwen John & Rodin

From Maggie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Woolfian Gym devotee World-traveller

Maggie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Maggie Humm Why did Maggie love this book?

If you’re thinking of holidaying in Corsica this book is a must read.

Written in 1767, the Scottish writer James Boswell copes with brigands, poor food, rough roads, and an impossibly wild countryside to meet the great Corsican republican leader Pasquale Paoli. Their encounter is every bit as fascinating as Boswell’s friendship with Samuel Johnson, the dictionary writer.

Corsica today is much friendlier, but still has dense forests, and high mountains, as well as the most stunning beaches in the world and gourmet food. I stayed in beautiful Calvi, Corsica in July 2023 (I am not a travel agent!).

By James Boswell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boswell's Correspondence With the Honourable Andrew Erskine, and His Journal of a Tour to Corsica as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Excerpt from Boswell's Correspondence With the Honourable Andrew Erskine, and His Journal of a Tour to Corsica, Reprinted From the Original Ed, Edited With a Pref, 1879

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do,…


Book cover of Guy de Maupassant's Tales of Revenge - A Collection of Short Stories

TS Alan Author Of Sometimes They Come Back

From my list on characters wronged and getting revenge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m mostly known for my zombie/post-apocalypse novels and being a prepper. So why did I choose the revenge topic and what qualifies me as an expert? Zombies and apocalypse storytelling were never my first love. My first has always been reading stories of revenge both true-life and fictional. This helped inspire and drive me as a writer in my early days in this genre. The stories by the authors I have listed here not only influenced me in my writing style but also fueled me to write my own revenge story anthology. But mostly, I have a very twisted mind!

TS's book list on characters wronged and getting revenge

TS Alan Why did TS love this book?

The two most influential writers of the 19th Century, who perfected the art of writing revenge stories were French-born Guy de Maupassant and American Edgar Allan Poe. Maupassant is the quintessential go-to Gothic storyteller for revenge and considered the greatest master of the short story in world literature. This collection has all his classic tales like “La Vendetta,” a tale about a grieving mother’s need for revenge, and my favorite, “The Hand,” about an avenging appendage. Plus, many more tales. 

By Guy de Maupassant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Guy de Maupassant's Tales of Revenge - A Collection of Short Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

These early works by Guy de Maupassant were originally published in the 1880's. As a collection of short stories, this represents Maupassant's tales of revenge, and includes 'A Vendetta', 'Father Milon', 'Mother Sauvage', 'The Corsican Bandit', 'The Hand', and 'The Lancer's Wife'. Guy de Maupassant was born in 1850 at the Château de Miromesnil, near Dieppe, France. He came from a prosperous family, but when Maupassant was eleven, his mother risked social disgrace by trying to secure a legal separation from her husband. After the split, Maupassant lived with his mother till he was thirteen, and inherited her love of…


Book cover of Memoirs of the Comtesse de Boigne 1815 - 1819

Philip Mansel Author Of King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV

From my list on French Court.

Why am I passionate about this?

The French court has fascinated me since boyhood visits to Blois and Versailles. The appeal of its unusually dramatic history is heightened by the prominence of women, by the number and brilliance of courtiers’ letters and memoirs, and by its stupendous cultural patronage: Even after writing seven books on the French court, from Louis XIV to Louis XVIII, I remain enthralled by Versailles, Fontainebleau, and Paris where, as the new science of court studies expands, there is always more to see and learn. The power and popularity of the French presidency today confirm the importance of the French monarchy, to which it owes so much, including its physical setting, the Elysée Palace.

Philip's book list on French Court

Philip Mansel Why did Philip love this book?

Madame de Boigne describes the same period as Chateaubriand, whom she disliked, from a liberal perspective. Both had their style and mind improved by suffering during the Emigration, which also made both, for a time, feel half-English. Boigne married a French officer who had made a fortune in India, but failed to tell her he had brought back an Indian wife. She took his money and returned to live with her parents. 

Born with what she called a ‘taste for royalty and the instinct for court life’, she described salons and quarrels, royalty and revolution, Paris and England, from 1780 to 1840. Her friend Count Pozzo di Borgo, for example, she says, would have descended into hell to find enemies for Napoleon, whom he had hated since their childhood in Corsica. She blamed the long foretold revolutions of 1830 and 1848 on monarchs’ exaggerated sense of their infallibility. A genius…

By Charles Nicoullaud (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Memoirs of the Comtesse de Boigne 1815 - 1819 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The personal writings of a 18th-19th century French Noble woman taken from her personal writings. Her papers (published in several volumes) throw many side-lights upon a long period extending from the reign of Louis XIV to the Revolution of 1848, and this rather by means of the special details which are narrated than by any generalizations from a wider outlook. This period was in every respect one of the most troubled and extraordinary in French history, and is fertile in events and changes, important though not always fortunate. Mme. De Boigne held an important social position and for nearly sixty…


Book cover of Napoleon on Napoleon: An Autobiography of the Emperor

Gareth Williams Author Of Needing Napoleon

From my list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught about Napoleon for thirty years, having studied history at Cambridge. I’ve been fascinated by the Corsican outsider, who, thanks to the French Revolution, rose to dominate Europe, since I saw a china bust of him in his green Chasseurs uniform on my maternal grandparents’ sideboard. I always loved historical fiction and having retired into a locked-down world, I put my time on the Isle of Skye to good use and set about researching and writing the novel I had always said I would write. Re-reading old favourites and encountering new interpretations was a joy and certainly made compiling this list an enjoyable challenge!

Gareth's book list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head

Gareth Williams Why did Gareth love this book?

Where better to start trying to understand Napoleon than with his own words? If only it was that simple! In total, four of his companions took down Napoleon’s words but he died without editing them. Exiled on St Helena, Bonaparte was determined to counter what he saw as the gross distortions circulating in the English-speaking world. I delight in his confident vision, even after his ultimate defeat. This book gives us insights into his view on the nature of history, his assessment of generals through the ages, including a substantial section on himself, the key events in his career, and a set of final observations in which he attempts to rewrite history to his tastes. Not then a balanced piece of work but no less fascinating for all that. It taught me the importance of putting myself in a character’s shoes before I start writing.

By Somerset de Chair (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon on Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During his exile on St. Helena, Napoleon dictated memoirs, notes, letters and battle commentaries to the generals who shared his captivity. He then edited the material himself. The result is an account of Napoleon's life in his own words, from his childhood in Corsica to his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. Private concerns, such as feuds with his brothers and divorce from Josephine, are mixed with such matters of state as the rebellion of Toussaint-Louverture and the retreat from Moscow. In this edition, de Chair has incorporated much new material from three further volumes of notes and miscellanies dictated by…