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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. --Gilbert Taylor
Deft, authoritative, often strikingly counter-intuitive, this is the definitive word on the subject.
In my opinion, this book is THE definitive authority on the Napoleonic Wars. Instead of coming up with a linear, casuistic narrative, Esdaile looks at the Napoleonic Wars as a... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Suvy Boyina
This book by Charles Esdaile deserves better treatment than what it gets from its reviewers on Amazon. Read morePublished 1 month ago by R. Sam
This is a massive narrative that examines the political history of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. Read morePublished 5 months ago by AW
What is history, and how important is Napoleon in the "Napoleonic Era?" I am again amazed, reading some of the reviews, what people think history is and is not. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Paul Krause
I bought this book with great expectations, as the subject interests me, and Charles Esdaile has forgotten more about Napoleon than I will ever know. Read morePublished on July 24, 2013 by Matthew Stevenson
This was an excellent book dealing with the Napoleonic Wars taken as a whole. It dove into the other minor theaters of the war that are often called by different names. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by Nicholas Roberts
"Every book is worth reading at least once."--NOT! The most biased of the trio British historians of Napoleon: Dwyer, McLynn and now this guy. Read morePublished on January 12, 2013 by Kaye Molavi
General histories of the age focus about 80% on Napoleon, throw in some Nelson and Wellington, and round out with the other players - Russia, Austria, Prussia, etc. Read morePublished on November 19, 2012 by Hae-Yu
As others who have read this book and rated it low I am in full agreement. I've read only five books on Napoleon so by no means am I an expert. Read morePublished on July 26, 2012 by M. novak