Napoleon's wars An international history, 1803-1815

Charles J. Esdaile

Sound recording - 2008

Perhaps no historical figure exists who rivals Napoleon Bonaparte's mystery. Equally thought of as an egomaniacal military monster and a cultured visionary, Bonaparte's accomplishments and challenges are a point of contention for countless historians. Charles Esdaile seeks to co-mingle these varying viewpoints in this comprehensive look at France's most infamous leader. Additionally, Esdaile provides expansive commentary on the numerous wars in which Napoleon was involved.

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COMPACT DISC/944.05/Esdaile
0 / 1 copies available
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2nd Floor COMPACT DISC/944.05/Esdaile Due Aug 17, 2023
[Old Saybrook, Conn.] : Tantor Audio p2008.
Item Description
Title from container.
Unabridged recording of the book published in 2007.
Duration: 25:00:00.
Physical Description
20 compact discs (ca. 25 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in
Main Author
Charles J. Esdaile (-)
Other Authors
Simon Prebble (-)
Review by Choice Review

In the bicentennial of the Napoleonic era, most welcome in the spate of the attendant new books is this work by Esdaile (Univ. of Liverpool). The author utilizes his long work in the period to deliver a magisterial treatment of the world of imperial diplomacy. This is not a military history; the campaigns and great battles are not its chief concern. But the book's title is no misnomer: Esdaile powerfully illustrates that for Napoleon, war and diplomacy were essentially the same thing. One of the volume's many strengths is its broader coverage of foreign relations beyond the cut and thrust of the emperor and his many adversaries. Russo-Turkish complications in the Balkans, the emergence of Serbia, and the War of 1812 all are skillfully woven into the narrative. Yet the author never loses the central thread--Napoleon's role in compelling the powers to abandon long-held conflicting interests to deal with his all-consuming ambition. Told from multiple perspectives and based on primary sources (chiefly correspondence, diaries, and memoirs), the story, in the author's compelling account, retains its power to fascinate. Esdaile's work is a classic of diplomatic history--indispensable for all collections. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. G. P. Cox Gordon College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. Review by Booklist Review

Historians of Napoléon Bonaparte must assess his role in causing the wars named after him. Esdaile assigns heavy responsibility to the first consul and self-crowned emperor yet declines to analyze the period in exclusively personal terms. Rather, he develops the intersection between Napoléon's militaristic proclivities and the international relations on which he dreamed of hammering his name into history. Much of Esdaile's narrative recounts conflicting agendas of the European powers and dwells particularly on suspicions of Britain by Austria, Prussia, and Russia. In degrees, these powers all pursued their traditional foreign objectives, sparking several wars entirely unrelated to France's territorial expansion. In consequence, France, spurred by its leader's lack of political restraint and thirst for conquest, was able to war advantageously against one or two powers at a time until the formation in 1813-15 of the alliance that finally defeated Napoléon. Recapturing the flux of international diplomacy and Napoléon's congenital rejection of compromise, Esdaile persuasively places the diplomatic foundation to popular military histories about the Napoleonic wars.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2008 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Library Journal Review

In direct contrast to Gen. Michel Franceschi and Ben Weider's Wars Against Napoleon: Debunking the Myth of the Napoleonic Wars, which claimed that Napoleon was a pacifistic victim of circumstances, comes a book that makes no attempt to hide his insatiable lust for military glory and, thus, power. Yet Esdaile (history, Univ. of Liverpool; The Peninsular War) does offer a distinct approach by writing a history of these wars that is not simply Francocentric but reflects the full European dimension of the conflicts. So the reader gets not only fresh information on such disparate actions as the Serbian revolt of 1804 and the Eastern and Ottoman fronts but a better understanding of the time period as a whole and Napoleon's historical place in it. Esdaile argues that the Napoleon we see today is the product of a very efficient propaganda machine begun on St. Helena by the emperor himself. Using contemporary sources describing the little Corsican, his resulting myth-busting portrait rings true. Placed within the author's panoramic view of the wars that spread so quickly across the European continent, it's a study that makes a compelling read. Recommended for all libraries.--David Lee Poremba, Keiser Univ., Orlando, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

A measured reassessment of Napoleonic imperialism. Esdaile (History/Univ. of Liverpool; Fighting Napoleon: Guerillas, Bandits and Adventurers in Spain, 18081814, 2004, etc.) notes that Bonaparte's champions have burnished a positive image of the emperor as a heroic figure who sought to defend the honor of France, preserve the French Revolution and free all Europe from the rule of the old order. Modern academic histories challenge or debunk much of this glowing portrait. The author draws nicely on their scholarship to offer a broad, balanced account of the prolonged conflict known as the Napoleonic Wars (180315). Although Napoleon's "aggression, egomania and lust for power" were the main driving forces, writes Esdaile, the wars also reflected complex issues involving relations among many European monarchies that had been at war throughout the 18th century. Recounting events from Britain's declaration of war on France in 1803 to Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo and the dissolution of much of the French colonial empire, the author takes pains to explain how the rulers of Austria, Russia, Sweden and other countries acted in their own right and not simply as foils for Napoleon. The emperor is seen as a young opportunist who became a brilliant general convinced of his own infallibility and driven by the need for military and personal glory. ("Frenchmen!" he declared to his army in 1807, at the height of his power. "You have been worthy of yourselves and of me.") Always overstretching, eschewing compromise and declaring, "the word impossible is not in my dictionary," he pushed his way across the Pyrenees into Spain and Portugal, precipitating his eventual downfall. Although pausing often to reflect on the motives and actions of key players, Esdaile's narrative never falters. He offers a panoramic view of the pan-European warfare and traces the emergence in this conflict of a new military age marked by far larger field armies, more and longer battles, a new stress on news management and propaganda and the rise of modern government bureaucracies. A welcome and well-written synthesis of recent scholarship. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.