Saturday, 26 January 2013

What’s An FINS?

I was asked the other day what 'FINS' that I use after my ‘signature’ means. While it may seem (and probably is) completely pretentious (to be polite), I include it for a good reason (IMHO).
FINS stands for Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society, an honour that was kindly bestowed on me by Ben Weider, the founder of the INS, in recognition of my 'life-long' interest and advocacy of the period. I don't normally like the idea of using titles and memberships of associations, but include the FINS with my ‘signature’ on this blog in the hope that it will stimulate people to find out more about the society and the period.
So, what is the INS (SNI)?
The International Napoleonic Society was founded by the late Dr Ben Weider to promote the study, memory and better understanding of the Napoleonic period. Ben Weider was a kind and generous person who had a passion for Napoleon, for the Napoleonic period and for historical “truth”.
The late Ben Weider, founder of the INS
Outside of the INS he is probably best known for his books telling the story of Dr. Sten Forshufvud's remarkable work in uncovering evidence for the poisoning of Napoleon with arsenic. These landmark books, “The Murder of Napoleon” and “Assassination at St. Helena: The poisoning of Napoleon Bonaparte” were followed by the later publication “Assassination at St. Helena Revisited”. While several other theories have been forwarded to explain Napoleon’s death, including a re-visiting in 2007 of the original pronouncement of stomach cancer, Forshufvud and Weider’s work remains the best researched and most likely theory for the untimely death of the Emperor. The exhumation of Napoleon’s body is probably the only way to end the debate once and for all, but that is never going to occur!
To Ben Weider and many others, including myself, “the Napoleonic Epoch is one of the most fascinating – and important – in history” (INS website). I encourage you to find out more about the International Napoleonic Society, to visit the website and to promote the study, appreciation and better understanding of what remains an influential, stimulating and fascinating period of history.

Further information
Forshufvud, S, Smith, H and Wassén, A (1961) Arsenic Content of Napoleon I's Hair Probably taken Immediately after his Death. Nature 192, 103-106.
Forshufvud, S and Weider, B (1987) Assassination at St. Helena: The poisoning of Napoleon Bonaparte. Mitchell Press Ltd, 543 pp.
International Napoleonic Society (La Société Napoléonienne Internationale): (
Lugli, A, Zlobec, I, Singer, G, Lugli, AK, Terracciano, LM and Genta, RM (2007) Napoleon Bonaparte’s gastric cancer: a clinicopathologic approach to staging, pathogenesis, and etiology Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology 4, 52-57. 
Markham, JD (2009) Memorial to Ben Weider. The Napoleon Series.
Weider, B (1998) The Assassination of Napoleon. The Napoleon Series.
Weider, B and Forshufvud, S (1995) Assassination at St. Helena Revisited. John Wiley & Sons Inc. 555 pp.
Weider, B and Hapgood, D (1982) The Murder of Napoleon. Congdon and Lattès, Inc., New York. 266 pp.


  1. I must confess to having been curious about the FINS for a while; figured it was some kind od Aussie sports team or something, LOL! I think it's use is perfectly appropriate in this context. I use my professional title in the work setting, for example, but never outside of it.

    1. Now there's an idea Peter. I should and add some other, trivial ones to make a full 'list'—don't ya just love it when people do that?!
      Let's see, what about MANF, MANS and MWCE?
      (The last one relates to the Australian Football League team that I am a supporter/member of, LOL!!!)