Published in the USA
'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 … 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 Gericault'
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.'
'A compelling read'
'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 is history, and the author presents it in a most compelling manner, with two off-kilter characters, artist Theodore Gericault and writer/shipwreck survivor Alexandre Correard, driving the story.'
'A spellbinding account ... Gripping, mesmerizing, and so unbelievably horrible you won't believe it ever happened, The Wreck of the Medusa is narrative history at its finest.'
'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)
'an 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
ON LINE RESPONSE
From ‘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.'
'Fascinating, gripping and gruesome in its reality and writing. ... 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.'
Published in Italy
'… emozionante, avvincente e in molti tratti sconcertante - narra le incredibili vicende che portarono alla realizzazione di uno dei piu grande capolavori della pittura dell'Ottocento europeo'
(Exciting, compelling and unnerving in many places - narrates the incredible events that led to the creation of one of the greatest masterpieces of the nineteenth century)
l 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)
'Jonathan Miles has created an extraordinary book in the best Anglo-Saxon tradition … meticulous research and compelling writing'
Qui comincia - Dec 6th 2010 - uno bellisimisso libro – a very beautiful book
RAI RADIO 3 - Book of the Day