Napoleon: A Life

Napoleon: A LifeThe Definitive Biography Of The Great Soldier Statesman By The New York Times Bestselling Author Of The Storm Of War Winner Of The Los Angeles Times Book Prize For Biography And The Grand Prix Of The Fondation Napoleon Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo His Battles Are Among The Greatest In History, But Napoleon Bonaparte Was Far Than A Military Genius And Astute Leader Of Men Like George Washington And His Own Hero Julius Caesar, He Was One Of The Greatest Soldier Statesmen Of All Times Andrew Roberts S Napoleon Is The First One Volume Biography To Take Advantage Of The Recent Publication Of Napoleon S Thirty Three Thousand Letters, Which Radically Transform Our Understanding Of His Character And Motivation At Last We See Him As He Was Protean Multitasker, Decisive, Surprisingly Willing To Forgive His Enemies And His Errant Wife Josephine Like Churchill, He Understood The Strategic Importance Of Telling His Own Story, And His Memoirs, Dictated From Exile On St Helena, Became The Single Bestselling Book Of The Nineteenth Century An Award Winning Historian, Roberts Traveled To Fifty Three Of Napoleon S Sixty Battle Sites, Discovered Crucial New Documents In Archives, And Even Made The Long Trip By Boat To St Helena He Is As Acute In His Understanding Of Politics As He Is Of Military History Here At Last Is A Biography Worthy Of Its Subject Magisterial, Insightful, Beautifully Written, By One Of Our Foremost Historians From The Hardcover Edition. In 1806, during the Battle of Jena, the philosopher Hegel went out to survey the scene from a hill top He saw the emperor Napoleon ride past, and what he saw transfixed him I quote I saw the Emperor, this world spirit Weltseele , go out from the city to survey his realm It is a truly wonderful experience to see such an individual, on horseback, concentrating on one point, stretching over the world and dominating it Andrew Roberts view is slightly less positive This biography is an attempt to rehabilitate Napoleon from those who would compare him to the omnicidal dictators of the 20th century He sees Napoleon as an embodiment of the Enlightenment, a polymath, a patron of art and science, a legal reformer, and a figure who created modern Europe, perhaps comparable to Charlemagne Roberts is well prepared to write a volume of this size and scope He makes extensive citations of the new collected edition of Napoleon s letters 33,000 , and has visited some fiftysix battle sites of Napoleon s campaigns
The ideas that underpin our modern world meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire Napoleon Bonaparte may never have stalked so largely through the pages of early 19th century history if not for the French Revolution He almost didn t survive it He was even arrested at one point by the counter revolutionists as a collaborator with Robespierre, which even for a man of Napoleon s self assurance must have been a moment of uncertainty The trials of this period were mere shams, so regardless of your level of guilt or innocence, it was hard to gauge what would be your fate I was not surprised, of course, that he did reassure his captors and was liberated In the military he benefited from the mass retirements of many overaged commanders that helped clear the way for his ascension Timing is everything, as they say, and certainly, Napoleon picked a good time for a man to be alive who had aspirations to be the next Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.Napoleon proved him
This is a life so big that 800 pages can hardly contain it Philip Dwyer started a feasible format in Napoleon Vol I The Path to Power 1769 1799 Path to Power 1769 1799 v 1 several years ago Full books have been written about single weeks in his life Andrew Roberts is to be saluted not only for his research, but for his ability to condense the outsized story of Napoleon Bonaparte into one book.Roberts brings out the best in his subject He shows Napoleon s acts of empathy, his ability to converse with the distinguished thinkers of his day, his Code and its long lasting effects, his connection with his troops and brilliance on the battlefield He abbreviates the bad, for instance writing that he left his troops in Egypt without orders rather than say he abandoned them.I was struck on how well Napoleon fits Malcolm Gladwell s theory expressed in Outliers The Story of Success The Story of Success While experienced in political turmoil, Napoleon s family was distant from France where when standing with one side meant persecution when the other side came to power His dubious noble status could be played either way in the time when nobility as a requirement of generalship was questioned With his education, ambition and determination he was able to excel in a career general emperor that could only be obtained created by commoners in Europe in this sliver of time.While the actual battles are the least of my historical interests the story can t be told without
Read by John Lee 33hoursDescription Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far than a military genius and astute leader of men Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, he was one of the greatest soldier statesmen of all times.Andrew Roberts s Napoleon is the first one volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon s thirty three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation At last we see him as he was protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine Like Churchill, he understood the strategic importance of telling his own story, and his memoirs, dictated from exile on St Helena, became the single bestselling book of the nineteenth century.An award winning historian, Roberts traveled to fifty three of Napoleon s sixty battle sites, discovered crucial new documents in archives, and even made the lo
Gushing bio unusual for an Englishman Roberts claims that newly available letters present a vastly favorable portrait than previously available to scholars All too often historians have taken at face value the biographies written by people around Napoleon, whereas many of them were deeply compromised, to the point of being worthless unless co firmed by as second source The problem is that although Roberts tries to be balanced, and points out the warts, his over the top admiration for his subject distorts the lens of otherwise excellent research.One example Roberts extols Napoleon s re created nobility Unlike anywhere else in Europe, a French family s noble simply lapsed if the next generation hadn t done enough to deserve its passing on A paragraph later, however, he describes the new hierarchy a complete reordering of the system from top to bottom without placing the new peers Instead, he digresses into a discussion of the exact mix of liberty, equality and fraternity the new scheme supplied Similarly, Roberts s discussion on Napoleon and the Jews is muddled On one page, he touts reasonably enough the Decree on Jews and Usury A page later, Napoleon is upholding prosecutions of Jewish moneylenders, and the best Roberts can manage is that Napoleon was personally prejudiced against Jews to much the same degree as the rest of his class and background
Napoleon A Life, written by Andrew Roberts, is an absolutely astounding biography on one of modern history s greatest conquerors, Napoleon Bonaparte Born in Corsica and resentful of French rule over the island, he eventually gave up his nationalist views and joined the French army as an artillery officer Rising through the ranks during France s bloody Revolutionary period, Napoleon eventually become the centre of a coup d etat attempt by a number of conspirators to overthrow the ineffective and chaotic French revolutionary system Napoleon outfoxed his co conspirators, and took full military control of France, eventually proclaiming himself an Emperor What followed was a whirlwind of political reform, French expansion and military victory Italian, German and Austrian states were all defeated by Napoleons armies, and the geopolitical situation of Europe was drastically changed Multiple coalitions consisting of almost every European power were allayed and defeated 5 times, until the disastrous Russian campaign and Napoleon s Hundred Days out of political exile He ended his life in captivity on British owned St Helena, far away from the political gambit of Europe.Napoleon was an energetic, meticulous and rebellious figure He did away with most established conventions, dismissed most religious traditions at times dabbling in Islam, and considering marrying a Russian Orthodox princess He took personal control over much of the facets of his Empire, simultaneously fighting major
A magnificent biography The author notes that he has access to thousands of previously unavailable letters of Napoleon These letters add a great richness to this volume, and provides a somewhat different picture of Napoleon than I had had before One of the strengths, too, is that Andrew Roberts has a cool eye toward Napoleon He speaks highly of his major accomplishments, such as a massive change in the legal system, and he criticizes him for his weaknesses such as the Russian campaign, his lethargic performance at Leipzig leaving his best field commander, Davout, on garrison duty with a large force when he was badly outnumbered , and his subpar performance at Waterloo Hence, a nuanced biography.The book takes a chronological perspective on the life of Napoleon Bonaparte We follow the trajectory of his life from his youth on Corsica to his developing military career to his first experiences in battle to his rapid rise in the military hierarchy to his leading of armies to his accession to leadership of France to his reforms to his leadership in wars Over time, his victories became labored think Wagram and then he suffered reverses as he began to forget som
Confession off the bat This is a great biography Well written, well researched Hagiographic perhaps, but not in a way that makes your teeth chatter Maps are a little shaky at the beginning, but become better throughout All in all, head and shoulders above almost all modern biographies.But this is Andrew Roberts here, writing about Napoleon, his hero As such, let s hold him to a higher standard and see if he succeeds Roberts openly admits that Napoleon is a hero of his The book, as such, is five parts biography, one part advocacy Roberts wants to save Napoleon from the likes of Alan Schom, whose 1998 biography painted the Little Corporal as the predecessor to the Nazis, Fascists, and Stalinists who did so much to paint the last century in blood No Roberts tells us Napoleon was not Hitler Napoleon was a combination of Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton in one man He is the quintessential self made man The slayer of the Old Regime Certainly he deserves our respect It s a credit to Roberts s ability as biographer as opposed to hagiographer that I dislike Napoleon after reading this book than before though my sympathies are aroused for the Young Werther wannabe th
Okay, I know a biography of Napoleon is going to have a lot of detail about battles in it after all he conquered Europe, so yeah , but I just couldn t take it any and stopped reading somewhere around page 100 One page and I would have fallen on my sword. After reading his excellent account of the Storm Of War, I had high expectations of Robert s newest release, his biography of Napoleon I was not dissapointed.I suspect you can fill half of the New York s library with books dealing with Napoleon and as I understood these can be divided in two sorts you either hate him, or you love him.Andrew Roberts is comfortably between these two camps He does not praise him, but is here and there rather critical of Napoleon s decisions He is unbiased and stays to the facts, but while reading the book my admiration for Napoleon has grown quite a bit I mean, who can compare his self to this guy, who was emperor at 38 I m 38, and all that I ve managed is to become a consultant at an energy company As a novice reader in the Napoleon subject I am ashamed to admit Andrew stays to the facts, which is quite comfortable in that respect He does deliver his tale with objective reasoning, introduces a lot of names that I ve never heard of, but this is not a hinderance Andrew Roberts seems to have had access to a lot of letters from Napoleon to various friends and relatives, which gives you the feeling that you to get to know Napoleon quite personally Also, here and there you can t supress a quick smile if Andrew mentiones some nice anecdotes and some interactions between Napoleon and the common soldier.So this book met in all aspects my exp