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Napoleon: A Political Life

Napoleon: A Political Life Cover

 

Review-A-Day

"Steven Englund is something of a popularizer himself, but in the older and more estimable fashion of the man of letters....[H]e has serious and suggestive points to make, and he makes them in a luminous prose that few professional historians can match. His book is by far the best of the recent batch of Napoleoniana, and the best biography currently available." David A. Bell, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This sophisticated and masterful biography, written by a respected French history scholar who has taught courses on Napoleon at the University of Paris, brings new and remarkable analysis to the study of modern history's most famous general and statesman.

Since boyhood, Steven Englund has been fascinated by the unique force, personality, and political significance of Napoleon Bonaparte, who, in only a decade and a half, changed the face of Europe forever. In Napoleon: A Political Life, Englund harnesses his early passion and intellectual expertise to create a rich and full interpretation of a brilliant but flawed leader.

Napoleon believed that war was a means to an end, not the end itself. With this in mind, Steven Englund focuses on the political, rather than the military or personal, aspects of Napoleon's notorious and celebrated life. Doing so permits him to arrive at some original conclusions. For example, where most biographers see this subject as a Corsican patriot who at first detested France, Englund sees a young officer deeply committed to a political event, idea, and opportunity (the French Revolution) — not to any specific nationality. Indeed, Englund dissects carefully the political use Napoleon made, both as First Consul and as Emperor of the French, of patriotism, or "nation-talk."

As Englund charts Napoleon's dramatic rise and fall — from his Corsican boyhood, his French education, his astonishing military victories and no less astonishing acts of reform as First Consul (1799-1804) to his controversial record as Emperor and, finally, to his exile and death — he is at particular pains to explore the unprecedented power Napoleon maintained over the popular imagination. Alone among recent biographers, Englund includes a chapter that analyzes the Napoleonic legend over the course of the past two centuries, down to the present-day French Republic, which has its own profound ambivalences toward this man whom it is afraid to recognize yet cannot avoid. Napoleon: A Political Life presents new consideration of Napoleon's adolescent and adult writings, as well as a convincing argument against the recent theory that the Emperor was poisoned at St. Helena. The book also offers an explanation of Napoleon's role as father of the "modern" in politics.

What finally emerges from these pages is a vivid and sympathetic portrait that combines youthful enthusiasm and mature scholarly reflection. The result is already regarded by experts as the Napoleonic bicentennial's first major interpretation of this perennial subject.

Review:

"The central question of any study of Napoleon is whether he saved the French Revolution or buried it....Napoleon emerges from this study not as a great leader but as a lucky one." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Englund should be commended for frequently challenging us to reconsider Napoleon and his turbulent era." Washington Post, Book World

Review:

"An all-encompassing study . . . Englund is a stylish writer . . . A rigorous contribution to the literature surrounding Bonaparte and his time." Kirjus Reviews

Review:

"[A] lively biography . . . [Englund] provides readers with a fuller view of the man and his actions." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Remarkable . . . Englund has produced a definitive work that belongs in every European history collection." Library Journal

About the Author

Steven Englund earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University. He has taught courses on French history and on Napoleon at UCLA, the University of Paris-VIII (Saint-Denis), and Paris's prestigious School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences. He is the author of The Inquisition in Hollywood (with Larry Ceplair), Man Slaughter: A True Story of Love, Death and Justice in America, and Grace of Monaco. He lives in Paris.

Table of Contents

Contents

Frisson

Book I: Allons enfants de la Patrie

I. Napoleone di Buonaparte

Unsceptered Isle: Corsica in the Eighteenth Century

The Buonapartes of Ajaccio

Napoleon's Childhood

II. The Making of the Patriot

To France (Autun and Brienne)

Gentleman and Officer

Family

Enfant de la Patrie (Psychology)

Enfant de la Patrie (Ideas)

Corsican Junkets

III. The Unmaking of the Patriot

Annuit Coeptis: The French Revolution and the Emergencen of "the Political"

Divergences: Corsica and Napoleon in the Revolution

Styles of Patriotism: Paoli versus the Bonapartes

Interlude: Writer in the Making?

Napoleon in France (May-October 1792)

Forced Departure (1793)

Beyond Patriotism

IV. Robespierre on Horseback

"The Supper at Beaucaire"

Recognition

The Dinner at Ancona

The Spinner's Plans

Vendémiaire, Year IV

Book II: Le jour de gloire est arrivé

V. Love and War

Clisson in Love

A Rose by Any Other Name

The Improviser of Victory: The First Italian Campaign (1796-1797)

"Three to One": The "Moral" Elements of Victory

Lodi

VI. Apprenticeship in Statecraft: Italy and Egypt

"Cister" Republics

Death in Venice (of a Jacobin Reputation)

France Seen from the Army of Italy

Paris Interlude

A Passage to India: Egypt, 1798-1799, the Military Operation

Sultan El-Kebir — Governing Egypt

Egypt: A Balance Sheet

VII. Power (I): Taking It (Brumaire)

"Politics" and "the Political"

"The National Mess": The State of France, 1798-1799

The Return of the Prodigy

Brumaire: An Actor's Nightmare

VIII. Power (II): Using It (The Consulate)

The Pastiche of the Year VIII

War in Italy (Again): The Second Italian Campaign, 1800

The Blocks of Granite: Le Politique

Concordat

Economy, State, and Society: Bourgeois Consolidation?

The Politics of Depoliticization...

...and the "National" Fix

Napoleon and the Bonapartes

Book III: Contre nous, de la tyrannie

IX. Power (III): Naming It (From Citizen Consul to Emperor of the French)

Parallel Lives, Parallel Plots (1800-1802)

Consul for Life (1802-1804)

The War of Dirty Tricks

Getting Worse: The Coming of the Empire

Stupete Gentes!: The Republican Emperor

Coronation

Legitimacy: The Never-Ending Quest

X. La Guerre — Encore (et pour toujours)

The Failure of the Peace

Forming the Third Coalition

The Great Campaign (1805)

From Grande Nation to Grand Empire

The Fourth Coalition (1806-1807): The Prussian and

the Russian Campaigns

Blockade (I)

XI. The Empire — and Its Fissures (1807-1810)

Imperator and Imperium

The Janus Face of the Grand Empire

Spain

The War of the Fifth Coalition: 1809

The Pope and the Emperor

Book IV: L'Etendard sanglant est levé

XII. The Great Unraveling (1810-1812)

Highwater: Divorce, Remarriage, Heir

The Crisis of 1810-1811

The Blockade (II)

The Napoleonic Dream: Political Economy as National

Economics

1812 Overture

The Flight Forward

The Leader and His Men

His Master's Voice

XIII. The Collapse (1812-1814)

Malet

Pius and Impious (The Pope and the Emperor Again)

1813: The Crusade of the Sovereigns

The National Revival Manqué

The Lion in Winter: The Champagne Campaign (1814)

Abdication?

Abjection

XIV. Nation-Talk: The Liberal Empire

"Vesuvius Next Door to Naples": Napoleon on Elba

(May 1814-March 1815)

The Kingdom of the Weather Vane: Restoration France

The Eagle Has Landed

The Hundred Days (March 20-June 29)

Sub specie aeternitatis...

The Jacobin Specter

The Nation-Talker: Napoleon Chameleon

Waterloo: Vae Victis

Abjection (II), Abdication (II)

XV. Shadows: "The Liberal Empire"

The New "Saint"

Memoirs

Sickness unto Death

The Napoleonic Tradition(s)

Introduction (Misplaced)

Notes

Bibliographical Comments

Acknowledgments

Index

Map on page

Art following page

Product Details

ISBN:
9780684871424
Subtitle:
A Political Life
Publisher:
Scribner
Author:
Englund, Steven
Location:
New York
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
Political
Subject:
France
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Military
Subject:
Emperors
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Napoleon
Subject:
Emperors - France
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Series Volume:
108-80
Publication Date:
January 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
592
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 27.405 z

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » France » Napoleon
History and Social Science » World History » France » General

Napoleon: A Political Life
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 592 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780684871424 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "Steven Englund is something of a popularizer himself, but in the older and more estimable fashion of the man of letters....[H]e has serious and suggestive points to make, and he makes them in a luminous prose that few professional historians can match. His book is by far the best of the recent batch of Napoleoniana, and the best biography currently available." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review" by , "The central question of any study of Napoleon is whether he saved the French Revolution or buried it....Napoleon emerges from this study not as a great leader but as a lucky one." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "Englund should be commended for frequently challenging us to reconsider Napoleon and his turbulent era."
"Review" by , "An all-encompassing study . . . Englund is a stylish writer . . . A rigorous contribution to the literature surrounding Bonaparte and his time."
"Review" by , "[A] lively biography . . . [Englund] provides readers with a fuller view of the man and his actions."
"Review" by , "Remarkable . . . Englund has produced a definitive work that belongs in every European history collection."
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