Synopses & Reviews
Napoleon may have caused more men's deaths than any martial leader before him. Indeed, the paths of glory Napoleon trod, biographer Timothy Wilson-Smith estimates in his introduction, led possibly one million Frenchmen, and maybe as many as four million men from other lands, to their graves. Napoleon's peacetime accomplishments, however, have long survived the massive military sacrifice. Numerous societies and learned institutions that he created preserve his name and fame to this day. Museum collections attest to his passion for the arts. His Code Napoleon continues to thrive, and some credit him with a vision for a united Europe that the European Union has finally achieved. Both these Napoleons-the military genius and the social visionary-are fully covered in this new biography, which surveys in vivid, sometimes harrowing detail Napoleon's liberation of the continent from the old social order and chronicles the chaos that accompanied it through almost twenty years of warfare. It shows that the men who eventually brought Napoleon down-chief among them the inveterately conservative Castlereagh and Metternich-failed to grasp Napoleon's most remarkable gift: his ability not only to erect cultural monuments but also to effect significant social change that would long outlive his own defeat and downfall.
In World War II the British commonly compared Napoleon to Hitler, an unjust comparison, but he has also been compared to Alexander the Great, with whom he shares qualities of youth, daring and unbridled ambition, to Julius Caesar, a soldier politician with a similar skill as a propagandist; and to Augustus, analogous to the founder of the Roman Empire. Like all these men Napoleon had grave faults. Like them all he was a man whose achievement was on an heroic scale.This new biography will chart Napoleon's life, from Corsican boy-soldier to Emperor of the French and master of Europe. It will investigate the legend and acknowledge the legacy, which reshaped France, her system and laws, and the whole of Europe.
This new biography will chart Napoleon's life, from Corsican boy-soldier to Emperor of the French and master of Europe.
In World War II the British commonly compared Napoleon to Hitler, an
Accessible and affordable illustrated biography
This biography acknowledges Napoleon's rise and downfall, his legend and his lasting legacy, the reshaping of France, her government and laws (the Code Napoleon) as well as his wider influence on the whole of Europe.
About the Author
Timothy Wilson Smith was the author of the prize-winning Delacroix (1992), Napoleon and his Artists (1996), Caravaggio(1998), and Napoleon: Man of War.