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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Very good dust jacket. Binding: Hardcover. / Edition: First US Edition, 1st Printing Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company / Pub. Date: 2002-11-11 Attributes: Book 381pp / Illustrations: B&W and Color Photographs Stock#: 2064580 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Napoleon: His Wives and Women Hardcover – November 11, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hibbert is both eclectic and prolific, and his energies are hardly flagging; in the last few years, he has produced well-regarded biographies of Wellington, Queen Victoria and George III. Hibbert has a talent for visiting old ground with a fresh eye, and as he crosses the Channel, he does not disappoint. The Napoleon who emerges is not the victor, the emperor nor even the hero brought low, but the man as revealed in his relations with the numerous women in his life: his wives, his mistresses, his sisters and his mother. It is, on the whole, not a pretty sight. Napoleon was often crude, rude, insulting and even violent toward women, some of whom unaccountably found him irresistible. Marie Walewska, the teenaged wife of a Polish count offered to Napoleon to avert the destruction of Poland, fainted at their first private encounter and was raped while unconscious. Still, she appears to have fallen in love with him, and bore his child. Poland, however, was not saved. Napoleon demanded that he be first in the heart of any woman close to him and was ruthless when he detected divided loyalties. He upbraided his stepdaughter, Hortense, for mourning the death of her little boy excessively, and saw to it that Mme. R‚camier's banker husband was ruined and she herself banished because she virtuously preferred her husband to him. Through all of this, Hibbert remains studiously nonjudgmental, allowing readers to form their own conclusions about the character of the great man. 16 pages color, 8 pages b&w illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Despite the various romantic legends ("Not tonight, Josephine"), Napoleon was generally awkward and insecure in his relationships with women. He did, however, manage to attract a wide variety of desirable women through a combination of dogged determination and the aphrodisiac of power. Hibbert is the author of numerous widely praised historical narratives and biographies, and in this survey of Napoleon's wives and lovers he displays his usual gift for integrating personal stories with broader historical context. Hibbert (to his credit) does not claim that any of these women were powers behind the throne, but this is still an involving look at some interesting women and their relationships with a historical giant. While some--such as Josephine and Marie Louise of Austria--are well known, it is the more obscure objects of Napoleon's desire that are particularly interesting. All subjects seem to have approached their relationships in a manipulative, almost predatory, manner. While we don't learn anything new here about the affairs of state, Napoleon's state of affairs provides good, clean fun. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (November 11, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393052028
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393052022
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,795,249 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Loveitt on January 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Hibbert quotes Napoleon as saying, "To the manner in which (my mother) formed me at an early age, I principally owe my subsequent elevation. My opinion is that the conduct of a child entirely depends upon the mother." If this theory is correct, Letizia Bonaparte has a lot to answer for! For this is a man who, in the political sphere, said that the usual rules of morality didn't apply to him and who also said that the deaths of a million men didn't much bother him! And, as Christopher Hibbert shows in this very good book, in Napoleon's relationships with women he was crude, insulting and domineering. In short, (please pardon the pun) the Napster was what we would today call a male chauvinist pig. Napoleon behaved this way pretty much across the board: towards his wives, mistresses, sisters and just about every woman he came across- with the exception of his mother. Napoleon told women that they were ugly and dirty (guests at a party); he commented on their "private parts" (Josephine); told them what to wear (everybody); who to marry (his sisters); said they were only good for making babies (guest at a party); and was condescending when an intellectual woman attempted to discuss politics (Madame de Stael). To top things off, he had a nicely developed sadistic streak- he would flaunt his mistresses in front of Josephine, commenting about their physical attributes and sexual prowess. Napoleon claimed that he loved Josephine- in fact, he said that of his 2 wives and many mistresses she was the only woman he ever did love. Based on his comments and behavior, and considering his bad case of egomania, one wonders whether he was truly capable of loving anyone. But, having said this, it is important to note that Mr. Hibbert is never simplistic in his depiction.Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Leah Marie Brown, Author VINE VOICE on February 23, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In Napoleon: His Wives and Women, Christopher Hibbert proves once again that he is a first-rate biographer and historian. The book starts early in his love life; from his first, tender love, and follows him to those final, tragic days on St. Helena. Along the way, the reader is allowed a wonderfully, voyeristic peek into Nappy's varied, tumultuous, and sexy love life. The writing is superb, but what makes this book truly fun to read is the details, the remarkable details, like Napoleon didn't like green beans and freaked out when he found a green bean string still attached. The best story is the one when, as cadet, he was told he would be punished for a naughty act by being forced to eat his food on the floor. He replied, "I will not do it. In my house we kneel only before God. Only before God. Only before God!" That wacky Corsican!
Mr. Hibbert gives the reader a balance of the negative and the positive attributes that made up the complex, enigmatic Napoleon. My only negative was that he seemed to whiz through the telling of Waterloo.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MsCindyBooks on January 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a very well researched book by respected historian author Christopher Hibbert. A juicy read for anyone who is interested in the intimate lives and loves of Napoleon. After reading this book, the reader will see the obsessive, selfish, domineering control freak we know of his military and political life was also part of his personal and love life too. Seems Napoleon wasn't as amorous when the woman of his desires weren't in fear of him and giving into complete submission; yet we also see a romantic, emotional man who so wanted to be loved and respected. I believe the crudeness of his behavior (at times), towards not only women, but men too, was part of his own fearful inadequacies, the so called Napoleon complex, but what a fascinating, perplexing personality he seems to have been. Regardless of Napoleon's crudeness, rude behavior and at times violent callousness, Author C. Hibbert also illustrates Napoleon's surprising acts of compassion, love and devotion to the people who knew and loved him.

This objective piece of work allows the reader to come away with his own personal opinions of the private Napoleon and the people in his life. From Napoleon's sometimes cruel, obsessive but always enduring love of Josephine - his respectful, and some say fearful love of his second wife Marie-Louise, to his lusty, conquering affections for Polish mistress, Marie Walewska. The reader also gets a glimpse of his relationship with his mother and his sisters in much more provocative light. Hibbert includes a long list of minor mistresses and female acquaintances, in full delicious details too.

This is serious study of the private man, Napoleon. We get a peek at the perks, quirks, oddities and passions of a fascinating man. `Napoleon: His Wives and Women' is an intelligent read and an important one too for the hardcore Napoleon reader.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on April 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I must say that this book proves to be Christopher Hibbert's better efforts. This biography of Napoleon deals strictly with his relationships with all the women in his life. In the simplistic terms, this is a book about Napoleon's romantic and sexual life. The military aspects are only given as a background material. There are plenty of books on Napoleon on his military life but this one by Hibbert proves to be a rarity.

Hibbert paints a very complex but fair picture of Napoleon's relationship with all the women in his life. While Napoleon can be crude, tactless and perhaps an inept lover, he can also be affectionate, kind and caring. After reading the book, it would be easy to called Napoleon a "male chauvinist pig" as one previous reviewer did but I think he was just a man of his time when all men were basically "male chauvinist pig" in one way or another. Napoleon may have been bit more extreme then the most.

I found the book to be well written and well researched. There is a lot of in-depth look at Napoleon's personal life that comes out more strongly in this book then other books that centered strongly on his military life. His relationship with his sisters are strongly written here then most books I have read on Napoleon.

Overall, I think this book belong to any Napoleonic library.
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