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Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life

by Alan Schom

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479336,908 (3.39)5
Filling a remarkable gap, Alan Schom, an acclaimed historian, scholar and author, offers the most complete picture ever of Napoleon Bonaparte, "the scourge of Europe" and France's greatest hero. Based on more than 10 years of exhaustive research, Schom illuminates Napoleon's important economic and social reforms, his reorganization of the French government and his tempestuous personal life and its effect on his political decisions. Remarkably ambitious and compulsively readable, Napoleon Bonaparte covers every aspect of l'Empereur's life and career -- from his childhood on Corsica to his dramatic rise to the throne of France; from his campaigns of conquest to his final crushing defeat at Waterloo and death in exile on St. Helena. A lively and accessible text, Schom's book is generously illustrated with halftones and maps and features startling new insights about Napoleon's key aides, ministers and generals. Schom portrays Napoleon with candor, exalting his ambition and undeniable genius, but also addressing his dark side -- his ego, his failures and frailties, and the misery caused by his years of warfare across Europe. Powerful, dramatic, colorful and impossible to put down, Napoleon Bonaparte is a biography as complex, challenging and fascinating as the legend himself.… (more)

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Easy, if depressing, read. You might hope for something larger than life, but instead you see an almost garden-variety tale of psychopathy, megalomania and cronyism -- tiresomely, fearsomely reminiscent of Hitler. The writing and scholarship seem very sound, the pace brisk, and Schom makes no secret of his feelings about Napoleon and many of his hangers-on. A very well-written book, laying bare the essential meanness of his subject. ( )
  steve.lane | Nov 28, 2015 |
A wonderful biography. Highly recommended. ( )
  Autodafe | Apr 11, 2008 |
3076 Napoleon Bonaparte, by Alan Schom (read 15 May 1998) This is the first Napoleon biography I read since August of 1957 when I read John Holland Rose's two volume work. Schom is very anti-Napoleon, and the book leads me to conclude that Napoleon was an evil and despicable man. Why does he have an aura of glory about him? I believe it is because Frenchmen often are proud of his victories. This book is solidly researched--the huge bibliography is made up mostly of French books. Napoleon's life is a fantastic one, and much of it is absorbedly interesting. The book has nearly 800 pages of text, and I must admit some of the battle accounts are not super-interesting. But all other parts I found really absorbing reading. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Dec 18, 2007 |
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Filling a remarkable gap, Alan Schom, an acclaimed historian, scholar and author, offers the most complete picture ever of Napoleon Bonaparte, "the scourge of Europe" and France's greatest hero. Based on more than 10 years of exhaustive research, Schom illuminates Napoleon's important economic and social reforms, his reorganization of the French government and his tempestuous personal life and its effect on his political decisions. Remarkably ambitious and compulsively readable, Napoleon Bonaparte covers every aspect of l'Empereur's life and career -- from his childhood on Corsica to his dramatic rise to the throne of France; from his campaigns of conquest to his final crushing defeat at Waterloo and death in exile on St. Helena. A lively and accessible text, Schom's book is generously illustrated with halftones and maps and features startling new insights about Napoleon's key aides, ministers and generals. Schom portrays Napoleon with candor, exalting his ambition and undeniable genius, but also addressing his dark side -- his ego, his failures and frailties, and the misery caused by his years of warfare across Europe. Powerful, dramatic, colorful and impossible to put down, Napoleon Bonaparte is a biography as complex, challenging and fascinating as the legend himself.

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