‘An incredibly gripping book … Miles’s masterful work is a powerful read.’ -  Siofra Pierce, The Irish Times

‘Enthralling ... Miles’s unpicking of his two stories is impressive and he tells them with admirable lucidity’ – Michael Prodger, The Sunday Telegraph

‘A thrilling read.’ - Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian

‘Jonathan Miles reconstructs one of the most riveting relationships in modern cultural history … Miles has a novelist's eye for intrigue and detail which keeps the narrative building’ - Kelly Grovier, The Observer

‘Miles has a voracious pen and a veracious purpose ... history dressed as a fiction – skilful – vivid.’ – Alex Danchev, Times Literary Supplement

‘In his authoritative study Miles navigates a broad canvas, taking in a swathe of history, the sinking, the scandal, the painting and the politics. The book grips from the start … packed with all the elements of a ripping yarn – Miles’s account of the voyage is compelling …  a scholarly, gripping and grisly read to get swept up in, though it’s definitely one for the flight rather than the cruise’ - Lynn McCarry, The Herald

‘Jonathan Miles’s account of one of the most terrible disasters in marine history is an awfully compelling tale.’ The Independent on Sunday.

'Miles does not flinch from delivering the full story ... Compelling.' Arabella Edge, The Daily Telegraph

‘this fascinating account … expertly explored’ – William Boyd, The Spectator

‘A compelling picture of disaster, desperation and dishonour’ - The Sunday Telegraph

‘Miles's consistently fascinating and vivaciously written book: a palpable sense of anger so effectively powers his descriptive writing. He captures the sense of rising alarm as the ship approaches its fate, and pulls out all the stops when describing conditions on the raft: …if  there are times when Miles seems to be writing more like a novelist than a historian it doesn’t matter’ – Andrew Motion, The Guardian

‘Miles held my attention from the first scene’ - Christopher Hudson, ‘Critic’s Choice’ - The Daily Mail

‘Combining a gripping narrative with an insightful analysis’ – Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times

‘An impressively balanced illumination of the social, political and artistic dimensions of events … immense readibility, an observant eye for telling detail and a dry, understated wit’ – Philip McEvansoneya The Eire Sunday Business Post

‘crisp and telling biography of one of art's most powerful icons’ - ‘Kelly Grovier, The Observer

An ‘admirably energetic account’ – Graham Robb – London Review of Books

‘Excellent’ – Philip Hook , The Royal Academy Magazine

‘Both meticulously accurate and profoundly imaginative.’ - Rupert Christiansen, Literary Review






‘The spellbinding characters and lucid writing make this a genuine page-turner’ - Winston F. Groom, author of 1942, Patriotic Fire and Forrest Gump

‘Hard to put down …The saga of Gericault’s Medusa also illuminates vividly a little known period of French history’ - Sir Alistair Horne, author of  La Belle France and The Savage War of Peace 

‘With powerful prose and riveting detail, Jonathan Miles has taken the story behind one of the world's most famous paintings and woven it into a timeless tale of betrayal and survival.’ – Candice Millard, author of The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey 


‘The Raft of the Medusa ‘hangs in the Louvre, and its artistic significance is well known — its intimate depiction of emotional wretchedness helped stimulate the Romantic movement. Less known is that the painting played an intriguing role in volatile Restoration politics, the result of a collaboration between the artist and one of the wreck’s survivors, now enthrallingly recounted in “The Wreck of the Medusa,” by Jonathan Miles. Although marketed as another sea disaster tale (and the wreck is grippingly recounted), the book is as revealing about the powerfully resistant art of two colorful figures in post-Napoleonic France. ... The narrative is brilliantly meted out. Sections alternate among the wreck itself, the tortured and bizarre life of the artist and the political upheavals in France.’ The New York Times & International Herald Tribune

‘Jonathan Miles, the author of this excellent account, tells the story quickly and well. … Miles has taken a shipwreck and placed it into its political and historical and artistic context. We can only hope he writes more books as fine and compelling as The Wreck of the Medusa.’-Anthony Brandt – The American Scholar

‘part ripping yarn, part political analysis and part art history … compulsive, page-turning stuff … Miles has powerfully retold a tale that is still, as it was two centuries ago, more disturbing than fiction’ – Martin Gayford, Bloomberg News

‘Miles shows consummate skill in rendering the richly varied atmosphere of the African coast, from the sea-green obscurity of an Atlantic squall to the luminous heat of Senegal in midsummer.  His portrait of Paris under the newly restored Bourbon regime is no less brilliant in evoking the atmosphere of a city weakened by avarice, corruption, and indifference.’
‘Miles' superbly drawn Géricault’ – Dean Ferguson, editor of Transformation (San Francisco) in MRZine

The story is riveting enough on its own macabre merits, but Miles makes it more gripping still, chiefly through his deft reconstruction using scattered accounts and conflicting records.  He also makes a wise casting decision: as heroes, we get the Medusa survivor Alexandre Correard and the contemporary painter Theodore Géricault - Miles uses their contrasting personalities to forge a sort of Gallic Woodward-and-Bernstein dialectic, then pits the pair against the newly restored Bourbon monarchy and its shameful post disaster attempts at saving face by suppressing the facts. - Atlantic Monthly

‘A compelling read.’ – Publishers Weekly

‘Miles proves to be both an astute art historian and a dramatic chronicler of the catastrophe…. Miles crafts a captivating gem about art’s relation to history,’ - Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

‘A shipwreck, a bestselling 19th-century novel, a half-crazed artist and political intrigue all would seem to be elements of a Dan Brown thriller. But Jonathan Miles' "The Wreck of the Medusa: The Most Famous Sea Disaster of the Nineteenth Century," is history, and the author presents it in a most compelling manner, with two off-kilter characters, artist Theodore Géricault and writer/shipwreck survivor Alexandre Correard, driving the story.’ – Pittsburgh Tribune

A ‘spellbinding account ... Gripping, mesmerising, and so unbelievably horrible you won't believe it ever happened, The Wreck of the Medusa is narrative history at its finest.’ – Patum Peperium

‘The Wreck of the Medusa is an exciting and highly readable adventure story with skilfully interwoven narratives of a famous sea disaster and the political trials of Restoration France…. The strength of Miles’ book is its ability to tell many tales at once‘ — Library Journal (starred review)

‘ erudite history that is as thrilling as any sea adventure, Jonathan Miles blends the political, personal, and artistic elements of the Medusa episode to paint a captivating portrait of a volatile era.’ – Anna Mundow, The Boston Globe


A ‘page-turner of a book’ – Jerusalem Post

Serialised in The Times Magazine

Featured in The Telegraph Magazine

Michael Prodger chose Medusa as his Sunday Telegraph Summer Reading Pick.

Chosen for Daily Telegraph Summer Reading Selection : ‘an innovative life of the Romantic pioneer Géricault, as well as a virtuoso examination of the painter’s most controversial and famous work’

The Daily Mail – Critic’s Choice

Irish Daily Mail on Sunday – Book of the Week

The Week – Book of the Week

Interviews with the author in The Boston Globe November 11th, 2007 - visit then search Anna Mundow From Disaster a Modern Vision ; The Pittsburg Post Gazette (October 7th, 2007) ; The Book Depository  -


‘Library Thing’

‘you get a lot out of this book: naval history, 19th century French political history, art history and it has enough depictions of humanity at its worst that one might even classify it as having "true crime" elements. Highly recommended.’ 

‘Miles has written an informative and thorough book examining the causes and the influences (artistic and political) of the famous wreck of the Medusa. Well worth reading.’ 

‘This is not only a well-researched account of the wreck of the French ship Medusa off the coast of Africa on July 2,1816, but also an account of the political life of France in the time of King Louis XVIII and a study of the life the great Romantic painter Theodore Géricault and of his famous painting The Reft of the Medusa. The research evidenced is vast and the events of July 1816 are told in all their horror.’ 


‘Fascinating, gripping and gruesome ... This is a great history book that reads like a novel.’

‘A chilling tale of a colonization attempt gone horribly wrong. … It will give you more nightmares than anything Stephen King wrote.’

‘Miles's retelling of the story of the wreck and the abandoned raft is full of grisly thrills, but his account of its effects on Géricault and his art is of heart-wrenching humanity.’

‘Miles' work is an excellent piece of scholarship that is also a ripping good yarn of a wreck at sea and human survival at its rawest. It also a study of a cover-up and justice, both gained and tragically denied. In telling the story behind Gericault's memorable painting, Miles demonstrates how events can influence art, and how art in turn can influence events. … Whether you are a Historian, Art Historian or just someone looking for a good book that provides food for thought, Jonathan Miles' vivid account of the Medusa and its fate is well worth a read.’ 

‘…thoroughly enjoyed every word. The author does a superb job of placing you on the raft and in the middle of the action. The understanding of this event and it's underlying causes is a very important lesson. I was struck, page after page, by the similarities between the incompetence of the French officials in choosing expedition personnel and the Bush administration’s handling of the Katrina aftermath. Do yourself a big favor and add this one to your reading list.’

‘Although there is horror to spare in the details of the shipwreck, I was most moved by the story of Gericault's love affair with his uncle's wife and of the unhappy fate of their abandoned child.’

‘Miles's storytelling is so vivid, down to the last historical detail, that I soon forgot Medusa is not a novel. Compelling, hypnotic, fascinating.’

‘I really enjoyed this book, which was beautifully written and very readable. Thoroughly recommended.’

‘Very well written, totally unannoying, profound, moving, informative,'s wonderful.



Il naufragio, lo scandolo, il capolavoro

‘Il libro di Jonathan Miles - emozionante, avvincente e in molti tratti sconcertante’ 
(‘Jonathan Miles’s book - exciting, compelling and disturbing in many places’)
Il Sole 24 Ore

‘‘uno splendido libro a metà tra il saggio storico e il romanzo d'avventura.’
(‘a superb book that is both an erudite history and an adventure novel.’)
GQ Magazine

la Repubblica 

‘Jonathan Miles storico e saggista ha creato un libro straordinario, nella migliore tradizione anglosassone … ricerche puntigliose e a una scrittura avvincente…’
(‘Jonathan Miles has created an extraordinary book in the best Anglo-Saxon tradition … meticulous research and compelling writing’)

‘ un indagine a tutto campo’
‘a wide-ranging investigation’
Mucchio -  in a pick of the best titles published in 2010

     RAI - RADIO 3 
     ‘Qui comincia’ 
      Dec 6th 2010 
       ‘Book of the Day’
       ‘bellisimisso libro’ 
          (‘a very beautiful book’)

feature interview in
the programme
‘MUSEUM DISCOVERIES’http://boston.com