Napoleon A life

Adam Zamoyski

Book - 2018

"The definitive biography of Napoleon, revealing the true man behind the legend. The story of Napoleon has been written many times. In some versions, he is a military genius, in others a war-obsessed tyrant. Here, historian Adam Zamoyski cuts through the mythology and explains Napoleon against the background of the European Enlightenment, and what he was himself seeking to achieve. This most famous of men is also the most hidden of men, and Zamoyski dives deeper than any previous biographer... to find him. Beautifully written, Napoleon brilliantly sets the man in his European context." --

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2nd Floor BIOGRAPHY/Napoleon I Checked In
New York : Basic Books 2018.
First edition
Item Description
"First published in Great Britain by William Collins in 2018 "--Title page verso.
Physical Description
xvii, 764 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color), maps, genealogical tables ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 671-728) and index.
Main Author
Adam Zamoyski (author)
  • A reluctant messiah
  • Insular dreams
  • Boy soldier
  • Freedom
  • Corsica
  • France or Corsica
  • The Jacobin
  • Adolescent loves
  • General Vendémiaire
  • Italy
  • Lodi
  • Victory and legend
  • Master of Italy
  • Eastern promise
  • Egypt
  • Plague
  • The saviour
  • Fog
  • The consul
  • Consolidation
  • Marengo
  • Caesar
  • Peace
  • The liberator of Europe
  • His Consular Majesty
  • Toward empire
  • Napoleon I
  • Austerlitz
  • Emperor of the West
  • Master of Europe
  • The sun emperor
  • The emperor of the East
  • The cost of power
  • Apotheosis
  • Apogee
  • Blinding power
  • The rubicon
  • Nemesis
  • Hollow victories
  • Last chance
  • The wounded lion
  • Rejection
  • The outlaw
  • A crown of thorns.
Review by Choice Review

In 1858, historian François Guizot proposed seeing historical actors as complex personalities in continual transformation in Memoirs pour servir à l'histoire de mon temps. Zamoyski, a European historian, brilliantly portrays the enigmatic Napoleon as having many selves. Using archival sources, Zamoyski offers a detailed and realistic adventure of evolving personae, possibilities, and potentialities. This chronologically organized biography spans the 18th and 19th centuries covering the Old Regime, French Revolution, First Empire, and Restoration. Zamoyski credits Napoleon for rebuilding and stabilizing France. He acknowledges his "extraordinary qualities" of mind, ambition, leadership, courage, and daring. However, he finds Napoleon fatally insecure, lacking empathy, and shortsighted; he criticizes later inflexibility, uncertainty, and inability to perceive change. He argues that Napoleon was not a monster, a genius, or an exceptionally territorially aggressive man, but "in many ways a very ordinary man" (preface). Nonetheless, it is difficult not to be awed by a man who counted Jesus's crown of thorns among his crowns (p. 664), and who crafted his own story with such Homeric skill. Zamoyski leaves us with the paradox of multiple Napoleons. Overall, this is a superb history of a complicated man and time. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. --Lorraine A. Rollo, Millersville University, formerly

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

Historian Zamoyski's (Poland: A History) has previously covered -Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), but here he also assesses the emperor's regime as a whole. The work is a success in all respects, rivaling Andrew Roberts's Napoleon: A Life in astuteness and thoroughness. Like Roberts, Zamoyski bases his study on voluminous archival evidence but has not supplemented it, as did Roberts, with on-site study of the battle settings. Zamoyski's study thus conveys a different and less complimentary picture of its subject. While admiring of Napoleon's efforts to reform French institutions, Zamoyski expresses reservations about his military genius. The author argues that the emperor was an exceptionally able tactician but less adept at strategy (long-range planning), often to his own detriment. In later years, he began to believe his own myth, affecting his skills at negotiating his way through a growing number of obstacles. The picture that emerges is of an extraordinarily gifted leader who increasingly sought short-term gain at the expense of long-term stability. VERDICT Exhaustively researched and engagingly written, this book will appeal to history lovers of all kinds. It complements but does not replace -Roberts's study.-David Keymer, -Cleveland © Copyright 2018. 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 biography of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) that avoids the well-established military details and gives us the story of a singular man.In a lengthy but highly readable narrative, Zamoyski (Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty 1789-1848, 2014, etc.) eschews a standard history of battles and instead describes a brilliant student and voracious reader. Well-trained at the cole Militaire in Paris, he became an artillery officer but took leave from his regiment to help establish Corsica's independence; he showed his talents first at the Siege of Toulon at age 24. He was brave and indefatigable but tended to disregard superiors and bypass instructions, and he escaped discipline with judicious use of flattery. During the Revolution, his well-led troops successfully stopped the mob at the Tuileries, and he was put in charge of the Army of Italy. His soldiers' best qualities were their ability to march quickly and live off the land. They succeeded with poor supply lines, operating in small, self-contained units with strong feelings of honor and love of glory. Throughout his life, Napoleon took propaganda to new levels, fabricating battles and enemy losses. As the author shows, he was a master tactician but no strategist. He never had a solid plan and took his daring to the limits of temerity. He was diminutive and projected an awkward manner and complete lack of grace. However, he possessed an extraordinary ability to inspire his armies. With his establishment as First Consul in 1799, he was determined to make France great, with the Napoleonic code, a stable economy, and a state so well-grounded that when his regime ended, the change occurred without chaos. Of course, his military glory and the vast empire he built from 1799 to 1815 went to his head, and the young Republican quickly transformed himself into an imperious emperor.An illuminating, easy-to-read, warts-and-all biography of one of history's most significant figures. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.