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Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life Hardcover – September 5, 1997
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You won't come away from this energetic biography thinking much of the French emperor either as a man or as a general. Historian Alan Schom depicts Napoleon (1769-1821) as a cold-hearted manipulator: Schom's blistering accounts of the 1798-99 Egyptian campaign and the disastrous 1812 retreat from Russia show the French army decimated due to its leader's failure to inform himself about the lands he was invading or to properly plan for provisioning his troops. The fun of this book comes from vigorous prose that vividly evokes Bonaparte's titanic personality and the colorful band of schemers surrounding him.
From Library Journal
Until now, there has been no comprehensive, one-volume biography on Napoleon. This book ably fills that gap. Napoleonic scholar Schom (One Hundred Days, Atheneum, 1992) has written an objective account, describing the strengths and weaknesses of his complex subject and his tremendous impact on Europe. Unique to this book are the insightful discussions of Napoleon's relationships with his family, wives, mistresses, and other luminaries of the day and his little-known friendship with a leading French mathematician, Gaspard Monge. The author contends that Napoleon was a paranoiac psychopath, and he uses numerous examples of kidnappings, murders, lies, and wars brought on by the Corsican to illustrate his case. He was also sadistic in his persecution of various individuals, from a simple German bookseller to his own brother Lucien. A wonderful biography; highly recommended.?David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Schom has taken a critical stance of Napolean, and that is fine. It is clear that sometimes he can be overly critical of Bonapartes brilliance on the field of battle and his organisational skills. Lets face it, you don't become the ruler of Europe by being a bungler.
But what Schom does highlight is that Napolean was human, and that his flaws were there from the beginning to be exploited. That others failed to exploit his flaws is one of the reasons for his success.
I say this book is worth the price, has provided me with both enjoyment and education, and if you want to know M.Bonaparte intimately you could do a lot worse than to read this one.
I am going to state my personal opinion; I found this book to give a decent overall picture of Napoleon.
I am neutral on my opinion of Napoleon; never have been able to determine if Napoleon was a hero or a tyrant.
The book points out his good and bad points.
The book does a good job of explaining his early childhood and his death; it generally satisfied my interest in Napoleon.
June 24 addendum: Cath Zeta Jones buys this very book in Speilberg's immigrant propaganda movie "The Terminal".