Books: The Corsican Mafia

THE BONAPARTES by David Stacton. 382 pages. Simon & Schuster. $7.95.

"All Italians are scoundrels!" Napoleon once exclaimed in a fit of pique with his compatriots. "Not all," an Italian noblewoman slyly replied, "but a good part (non tutti, ma buona parte)."

It was a good pun and a useful one in a century overburdened with Bonapartes. Like a swarm of corpulent drones they rose from the thickets of Corsica and fell with a sodden thump on the sinecures of empire. Noisy, ugly, greedy, provincial, quarrelsome, ostentatious, lewd and downright criminal, they terrorized Europe off...

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