Medusa's Head recounts the career of Napoleon's security chief Joseph Fouché, creator of the modern police state. Fouché was an important and controversial figure in the French Revolution, the First Empire, and the Bourbon Restoration. This biography recounts his roles as a priest-in-training who became a radical Jacobin and de-Christianizer; a dramatic swing vote for Louis XVI's execution; the grim and remorseless "Butcher of Lyon"; the mastermind of the conspiracy that sent Robespierre to the guillotine; enabler of Napoleon's 1799 coup, head of his pervasive police force, and repeated betrayer of the Emperor; acting president of France after Waterloo and traitor; Louis XVIII's Minister of Police, despite his responsibility for the death of the King's brother; and a wealthy, disgraced exile who met an unusual end in Trieste on the Adriatic.