Napoleon the Great
by Andrew Roberts
Editor: Penguin Books Ltd
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Today ONE OF THE MAIN BBC2 TV BBC2 SERIESAWARDED THE 2014 NAPOLÉON FOUNDATION GREAT JURY AWARDFrom Andrew Roberts, author of The Sunday Times best-seller of The Storm of War, is Napoleon’s definitive modern biography.Napoleon Bonaparte lived one of the most extraordinary of all human lives.In the space of barely twenty years, from October 1795, when a young artillery captain, he erased the streets of Paris from insurgents, to his last defeat at the (horribly badly managed) Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, Napoleon transformed France and Europe.After the conquest of power in a coup d’ etat he put an end to corruption and incompetence, in which the Revolution had descended.In a dazzling series of battles he reinvented the art of war, in peace he completely redone the laws of France, modernized his education and administration systems, and presided over a blossoming “beautiful Empire style” in the field of the arts.The impossibility of defeating his most persistent enemy, Britain, led him to make the draining and ultimately fatal expeditions to Spain and Russia, where half a million French died, and his Empire began to collapse.More than any other modern biographer, Andrew Roberts transmits Napoleon’s formidable energy, both physical and intellectual, and the attraction of his personality, even to his enemies.He travelled through 53 of Napoleon’s 60 battlefields, and absorbed the gigantic new French edition of Napoleon’s letters, allowing a complete reassessment of this exceptional man.He overturned many received opinions, notably on the myth of a great love story with Josephine: she took a lover immediately after their marriage, and, as Roberts shows, he had three times as many mistresses as he recognized.From the height of the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, when the closed fighting around them, a Frenchman, the sergeant major wrote,” Not him who did not know, he can have an idea of the enthusiasm that broke out among the hungry, exhausted soldiers when the Emp
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