- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books (October 4, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465048811
- ISBN-13: 978-0465048816
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #591,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Rise Of Napoleon Bonaparte Paperback – October 2, 2001
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Asprey, a former marine officer and military historian (Frederick the Great), has produced the first volume of a new two-volume biography of a man who was not only one of the greatest generals in history, but also instrumental in the formation of modern Europe. Covering the period from Napoleon's birth in 1769 to his brilliant victory at Austerlitz in 1805, Asprey charts his subject's rise through military school and his path through the treacherous byways of the French Revolution. Though there is a tendency in the earlier portions of this book to reduce the Revolution to a reign of terror, making it difficult to explain why Napoleon would have been such a fervent follower of the radical Jacobins, Asprey generally provides clear explanations of the political environment in which Napoleon acted. The story of the campaign in Italy that brought the young general his first fame is well told in its military, political and diplomatic aspects, and Asprey's fascinating account of the campaign in Egypt is particularly valuable. Here the author corrects misconceptions of Napoleon's actions, such as the notorious "abandonment" of the French army in Egypt. The military aspects of the story tend to overwhelm the narrative in the final chapters, and a summary chapter would have been helpful. But the chapters are bite-sized, and the text is easy, so this book should find a wide readership among those who enjoy biography, history and military history. Illus. (Dec.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
It is not easy to write an objective biography about a historical giant like Napoleon. His admirers hail his military genius and his indispensable role in destroying the tottering ancien regime throughout western Europe. His detractors emphasize his fatal conceit, his contempt for those who did not share his vision, and his perversion of republican ideals for his own aggrandizement. Asprey is a marine veteran and military historian. However, in this first installment of a projected two-volume biography, Asprey concentrates as much on Napoleon's personality development as he does on his military exploits. Asprey is clearly fascinated by his subject, but he reveals Napoleon to be a remarkable but deeply flawed man. Both his arrogance and his deviousness are evident here, but so are his extraordinary talents, including an uncanny ability to understand and to connect with the concerns of ordinary soldiers. This is a superbly written and exciting chronicle of the rise of a historical figure who remains a fascinating, compelling enigma. Jay Freeman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
The problem lies in the fact that the man's life is an integral part of his time, and his time was very busy. While he grew up, the fate of Corsica between Italy, France, and independence dominated his life, then the French Revolution, then his rise to power in the post-revolutionary chaos, etc. You can't tell the story of these developments in a few lines without being superficial, inaccurate, and confusing to the non-expert. Asprey tries it anyway and does a credible job.
One of the questions that I always wanted to ask about NB is: how could he make such a military career so young? Answer: the revolution had caused a huge gap of officer material, which needed to be filled fast as the rest of Europe was about to attack the young republic. That placed young NB in an advantageous position despite earlier problems of AWOL times and known rebellious actions, which might have been fatal at other times.
The second reason is that the man was a military genius. I have always tended to think little of that kind of talent, but at least I am able now to appreciate the complexity of the job and sheer physical demands that this general met. He was also a skilled administrator, a keen legal mind, a hard and fast worker, and a great PR man.
The book is largely in admiration, except when it comes to NB's obsession with England and challenging its naval superiority. It seems that common sense deserted him. By half time of the 2 volume biography, we are left with the impression of a super talented maniac who ran out of self-control.
The early wars of revolutionary France against the rest of Europe are a good case study on the subject of 'regime change'. We can see how outside interference can make a nation 'come together' in resistance against the outside even under terror regimes. There can be little doubt that the revolution would have run a different course if Austria, Prussia, England, Russia had not tried to stop it. (There can, similarly, be little doubt that a war against Iran, now, would weld a majority of the Iranian people together with the current leaders, despite latent opposition.)
Core pieces of this first of two volumes are the Italian and Egyptian campaigns and the wars against the anti-revolutionary coalitions. These are periods that I did not know much about, and now I still don't know all that much more. Probably one needs to look for specialized monographs.
This is an action thriller among historical biographies. On the other hand, pure action gets tedious. We need interpretation and plot construction. Asprey doesn't spend much time with that. The consequence of that is the fact that this book is more a useful reference handbook than a satisfactory biography.
Footnote: the handbook function is particularly relevant for readers of the Aubrey/Maturin novels which look at the struggles of the time from the English and anti-Napoleon angle.
This is not a book written by a stuffy academic FOR stuffy academics, which is what a lot of biographies end up being. It's one professor seeking to impress his colleagues with how many minute details he can cram into a 1,000 page book. Those types of books are not for general consumption.
This one is.
The book is written by a military man, which I appreciate, because it makes the subject readable. In the military, you write in brief...you don't write lengthy documents, because no one has the time to read them.
Asprey does a good job of summarizing Napoleon's life. If all you know about Napoleon is from your formal education or from general knowledge, than this book is perfect for you.
Each short chapter deals with a short period of Napoleon's life from his birth on Corsica up through his victory at Austerlitz. I have not yet read the follow-up volume which details the reign and fall of Napoleon. I enjoyed Asprey's writing style which is as much story-teller as it is historian. History need not be dull, as it tends to be with many academic books.
This may not be the most complete biography of Napoleon but it's probably one of the most readable in terms of keeping the average reader interested. No, there is no deep-dive into Napoleon's grades when he was 15 or the march leading up to Austerlitz...if you want deep discussions of single battles or campaigns, there are books for those.
I also enjoyed the fact that Asprey wasn't trying to prove something; there is no grand argument in his writing. Probably a side-affect of him not writing for academia but for the general public. He writes to inform, not to argue. Too many histories have some overarching theme like "Napoleon actually wasn't a great general because..." Those are usually some PhD's thesis or dissertation, which they have simply turned into a book.
I did find it odd that this book ends with Austerlitz and not with the coup that brought Napoleon to power. That is probably where I would have made the cut, but that's a small matter.
Anyway, for anyone who simply wants to learn more about Napoleon and the times in which he lived, this is a fine book to read.
Most recent customer reviews
reading them. The book is excellent.Read more