There have been hundreds, probably thousands of books on Napoleon, but Andrew Roberts has produced a riveting, fluent history of Napoleon s rise and fall that must rank with the very best of them.He takes us at an easy canter through Napoleon s petite noblesse upbringing in Corsica under his formidable mother, to his studies at the Brienne Military Academy and his early career in the army during the dark days of the French Revolution and the Terror that followed.I sensed that the author became ever an admirer of Napoleon s achievements, military and political, as he wrote this story of hisextraordinary life There is no arguing with their fact that Napoleon was as Wellington admitted, a military genius to rank with Alexander and Caesar, so as deserving of the epithet Great , while his political and administrative achievements remain part of European life two hundred years after his death.While Roberts takes us through all the famous victories Austerlitz, Jena, Wagram, Friedland as well as the disasters of Russia and Waterloo he always reminds us that Napoleon was at the same time planning a reformed, enlightened Europe under Frenchsuzerainty, naturally He also makes the controversial but interesting case that had Napoleon not over reached himself, with his defeat leading to European monarchies protecting their divine rights, Europe may have been spared the reforming convulsions of the nineteenth century which led to the horrors of the First and Second Wars DiscussIn this sympathetic biography what I found most surprising was that Napoleon was by all contemporary accounts a warm, amusing and sympathetic man, as well as a genius His troops loved him, his wives and mistresses adored him and the account of his companiable friendship with the fourteen year old daughter of the English family he lodged with on his arrival at St Helena is touching an Emperor who ruled Europe playing whist and blindman s buff.Napoleon s wars cost three million European lives how then can I still feel admiration and sympathy for a man I was brought up to think of as the ogre Boney I defy anyone who reads this utterly compelling book not to share at least some of that admiration and sympathy. Napoleon Bonaparte lived one of the most extraordinary of all human lives In the space of justyears, from October , when as a young artillery captain he cleared the streets of Paris of insurrectionists, to his final defeat at the horribly mismanaged battle of Waterloo in June , Napoleon transformed France and Europe After seizing power in a coup d tat, he ended the corruption and incompetence into which the revolution had descended In a series of dazzling battles, he reinvented the art of warfare in peace he completely remade the laws of France, modernised her systems of education and administration, and presided over a flourishing of the beautiful Empire style in the arts The impossibility of defeating his most persistent enemy, Great Britain, led him to make draining and ultimately fatal expeditions into Spain and Russia, where half a million Frenchmen died, and his empire began to unravel More than any other modern biographer, Andrew Roberts conveys Napoleon s tremendous energy, both physical and intellectual, and the attractiveness of his personality even to his enemies He has walkedof Napoleon sbattlefields and has absorbed the gigantic new French edition of Napoleon s letters, which allows a complete reevaluation of this exceptional man He overturns many received opinions, including the myth of a great romance with Josephine She took a lover immediately after their marriage, and, as Roberts shows, he had three times as many mistresses as he acknowledged Of the climactic Battle of Leipzig in , as the fighting closed around them, a French sergeant major wrote, No one who has not experienced it can have any idea of the enthusiasm that burst forth among the half starved, exhausted soldiers when the Emperor was there in person If all were demoralised and he appeared, his presence was like an electric shock All shouted Vive l Empereur and everyone charged blindly into the fire Andrew Roberts is a biographer and historian of international renown whose books include Salisbury Victorian Titan winner, the Wolfson Prize for History Masters and Commanders and The Storm of War, which reached number two on the Sunday Times best seller list Roberts is a fellow of the Royal Societies of Literature and Arts He appears regularly on British television and radio and writes for the Sunday Telegraph, Spectator, Literary Review, Mail on Sunday and Daily Telegraph This remarkable work tells us about the Napoleon s character as well as the legend which it corrects Napoleon was a truly extraordinary and many faceted character and a great man who has left a lasting impact on History This biography is a truly remarkable work by Andrew Roberts The scale of his research is amazing, as is the way Napoleon s military and political worlds are associated so closely with his personal life The scale of the Allied opposition and continual challenges that Napoleon faced are highlighted In my opinion this work takes Biography to a new level We owe so much to Andrew s insight based upon his extraordinary diligence David History was my favourite subject in school Yet I had never read a biography of Napoleon and had a very sketchy idea about him I picked up the book as it was amongst the most reviewed books on Napoleon.Mr Andrew Roberts has written a well researched and a single volume history of Napoleon though running into 800 pages He has read the private papers of Napoleon, visited the battle grounds and also read memoirs of other about him One has a mental impression of emperors and the character of Napoleon stood out in sharp contrast Some of the things that stood out were 1 Napoleon was born without priveldge and went onto become the most powerful man in the world and whose writ ran over a very large part of Europe More than cunningness and murdering opponents, his rise is to do with his ambition, energy, leadership, organisational capabilities and intellect His desire to learn new subjects, and his ability to master them came as a surprise.2 He is a great motivator of his soldiers and his armies love him He also uses propaganda and is very careful about public opinion and public image This later costs him, as he is not willing to compromise on the boundaries of the French state, in which public opinion is one consideration His view that too much freedom for press is dangerous is interesting.3 He is very forward looking and believes in meritocracy, equality before law, rational government, upholding legal contracts, secularism and efficiency These principles are not just for French but for all the subjects of the empire His rule is not only about him, but also about his subjects.4 As he grows powerful, he moves away from the principle of meritocracy and appoints his siblings to important position This costs him dear.5 His philosophy of taking decisions early and nipping the problem in the bud is interesting His shooting of 300 protestors ensures that for over 30 years, mobs made no attempt at violence in Paris As he says, art of policing is in punishing infrequently but severely.6 He is a great general and stays close to the battle and his troops There is no way that his opponents could have beaten him in the earlier part of his carrier, though as the author points out that luck also favoured him His downfall comes as his opponents emulate him and the invasion of Russia Russians keep on abandoning the cities and avoid a fight with his armies.7 One weakness is his lack of appreciation of the benefits of free trade Putting restrictions on trade with England makes his empire economically weak and in a way led to his downfall Good economics always makes for good economics on the long run.Despite his wars, Napoleon came across as a tragic figure He forgives people who have led him down He does not effect a regime change in either Russia or Austria Hungary, but comes to an agreement, though on his terms The same individuals came after him and ensured that he is no longer allowed to rule or even live in France They wanted him dead His wife eventually does not come and join him at Elba He is exiled to St Helena which he knows will be his final resting place.The French revolution and his new ideas ensured that new ideas were constantly at war with the old Europe as much as Napoleon and the others The real legacy is that the ideas of French revolution did not die but laid the foundation of a modern Europe His opponents except Britain such as empires of Austria Hungary and Russia withered away The countries where he planted ideas of nationalism i.e., Italy and Germany went on to dominate Europe in the 20th century.All in all a very well written book on one of the great figures of the human history I give it my highest recommendation. Napoleon didn t have a long life he was not far beyond fifty when he died but it was a remarkably full one Roberts s telling of the tale, as can be judged from the title, is aimed at depicting its subject in the best possible light, Given the mix of hatred and contempt with which many biographers, especially English ones, have treated Napoleon, it s a worthwhile exercise, and mostly a successful one.It s a measure of just how full Napoleon s life was sixty battles, two wives, two dozen mistresses that even as long a book as this sometimes seems a bit rushed In particular, many of the man s non military achievements, such as the creation of the Code Napoleon, one of his most lasting legacies, seem to spring fully formed onto the page, when in truth they must have involved a great deal of work and debate on the part of Napoleon and his associates Similarly, Roberts provides virtual laundry lists of things that Napoleon routinely did when he conquered a new country building infrastructure, reforming local laws and so on in a way that suggests all of these tasks were accomplished within a week by the man himself, which is self evidently not the case.The military side, in contrast, is retold in great detail Roberts has been careful to look for sources other than Napoleon s own voluminous correspondence, which routinely exaggerated his successes and downplayed his very few failures For the most part the descriptions of the battles are clear However, in the Kindle version, the accompanying maps are very small If it s important to you to follow retrace the actions for yourself, the physical book would be a better choice.Many depictions of Napoleon show a glum looking figure with one hand permanently inside the front of his jacket Roberts paints a picture of a man whom most people found charming and affable, and there are plenty of quotes to show that he possessed a good sense of humour This will, I suspect, be news to most readers.Lastly, Roberts dismisses recent controversies over Napoleon s death He is convinced by detailed autopsy reports prepared at the time, on St Helena, that point strongly to stomach cancer as the cause of death.In an afterword, Roberts notes ruefully that writing the book took him longer than the total time that his subject spent in exile on Elba and St Helena combined Time well spent this will be the standard work of reference for a long time to come. sirAfter Christopher Hilbert s, biography of Napoleon the Great came from Mr Andrew Robert a person of international repute It was due to him only After his Victorian Titan Salisbury biography of Lord Salisbury this is very best biography of Napoleon Napoleon who occupied prominent place in European history, due to his human qualities, was not followed by any person of his status till date He was great as he finished corruption and incompetence from his country France His only folly was to attack Russia and this was cause of his defeat Mr Andrew Roberts has well researched, extensively traveled to study his subject and the result was this best biography of Great Leader of France So far it is best biography in English Language in modern time embodying many new facts by writer by his hard work, devotion and research this subject.M s Allen Lane has done good service to readers to publish this good work at very reasonable price The binding and the paper used is of fine quality This book would be very useful to the students of European History and also to those who are interested in history of the France I strongly recommend it to both ans after enjoying it slowly they would realize the delight. Das Buch liest sich fl ssig und ist unterhaltsam geschrieben, wenn auch jetzt nichts wesentlich neues darin zutage kommt Wer Napoleon bewundert so wie der Autor es tut und auch offen im Vorwort schreibt wird sich gut unterhalten f hlen Allerdings fehlt wirklich jeder Hauch einer Kritik an Napoleon, jeder der auch nur ein halbwegs neutrales Bild sucht, wird die Einseitigkeit etwas erm dend finden. This was an absolutely fantastic book Thrilling from beginning to end Reading through I ve realized there hasn t really been a good movie tv adaption of Napoleonhe is always portrayed as dour and very sombrepacing around and very intense In reality, he was so effective because he shot the sh t with his men, was incredibly approachable, and had an electrifying smile that lit up a room.This is the kind of book I lovea Great Man of History book that wants you to improve as a personand never give up Das Buch ist gut recherchiert und fl ssig geschrieben.Da der Autor dem Gegenstand seiner Biographie bei aller kritischen Distanz eher positiv gegen bersteht, zeigt schon die Formulierug des Titels.Das ist aber ein h chst notwendiges Gegengewicht gegen die gerade in Deutschland wieder einmal berhandnehmende Napoleondrescherei siehe etwa den uns glichen W lzer von Herrn Wilms Die Bebilderung ist zwar nicht gerade ppig, aber gut ausgew hlt und tadellos reproduziert. An excellent bio of one of the most controvercial men in history When Napoleon is discussed, many either portray him as a villain who devastated France and Europe, or a farsighted misunderstood ruler who meant well but would not be accepted by other European powers Mr Robert takes the position of being closer to the latter He obviously admires Napoleon greatly However, he does not shrink from describing Napoleon s mistakes and shortfalls His attempt to get into Napoleon s head is relatively successful and plausible He provides excellent coverage of not only the military aspects of Napoleon s career, but delves into his personal life, as well as, the many social, legal, and legislative improvement he introduced, some of which are still in effect today While not totally objective history rarely is , I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to not only students of history, but those interested in discovering about a most interesting man.