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Napoleon: A Biography (edition 2011)
by Frank McLynn
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Napoleon Bonaparte?s character and achievements have divided and fascinated critics and historians for decades. In this compelling new biography Frank McLynn draws on the most recent scholarship and throws a brilliant light on this most paradoxical of men--as military leader, emperor, and lover. The author explores the Promethean legend from his Corsican roots, through the chaotic years of the French Revolution and his extraordinary military triumphs, to the coronation in 1804, his fatal decision in 1812 to add Russia to his seemingly endless conquests, and his ultimate defeat, imprisonment, and death in Saint Helena. Napoleon the man emerges as an even more fascinating character than previously imagined, and McLynn aptly reveals the extent to which he was both existential hero and plaything of fate; mathematician and mystic; intellectual giant and moral pygmy; great man and deeply flawed human being. What makes this new biography unique is McLynn?s perceptive analysis of both the personalities around Napoleon (including his two wives, and a very large family) and the events of his spectacular career. His obsession with his family, and his conviction that every man has his price, make Napoleon emerge as closer to a modern Mafia godfather than a visionary European. In this work, McLynn offers a vivid and valuable canvas, and new dimension, to eighteenth-century European history. He also brings the reader, as never before, closer to understanding the much mythologized Napoleon.
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