Louis XVIII by Philip Mansel John Murray, $145 Restoration of the French monarchy was Britain's preferred option after the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte to Elba. Louis XVIII's return was interrupted by Napoleon's escape that led to the Battle of Waterloo, but the restoration proceeded and, for a decade, France played a central role in bringing the European nations together. Louis, who had pressed his elder brother, Louis XVI, to take the monarchy on a more liberal course, escaped the revolution, serving briefly as regent until the death in prison of his 10-year-old nephew, on which the crown passed to him. Philip Mansel first published this study in 1981 and went on to cement a reputation for what critics called a scholarship 'both profound and original'. He says in a new introduction to this paperback reissue that the advances of the European Union make timely a revisit to the problems encountered by Louis. In his time, Mansel says, 'Europe almost gained an institutional framework'. Much mourned on his death in 1824, his reign was hailed as 'one of the most glorious in the history of France'.