Between 1796 and 1815, the continent of Europe was held in thrall by one of the most remarkable personalities of modern times, a man whose name was on the lips of every man, woman, and child: Napoleon Bonaparte. Certainly, one would have to go back to the time of Charlemagne to find his equal on the field of battle, in the halls of diplomacy, or in the courts of jurisprudence.
Napoleon not only remade France, he remade it to suit his own personal preferences. Although not himself a revolutionary, Napoleon was nevertheless determined to wipe away the stultifying remnants of the ancient regime once and for all and to replace it with a society firmly grounded on republican principles...at least outwardly. The fact of the matter was, Napoleon played the role of a tyrant. And although he spoke on behalf of the common man, his ultimate bequest to the people of France was a prolonged war stretching from the Iberian peninsula to the streets of Moscow, from the farmland of Holland to the Nile River, and leaving behind the greatest carnage ever known up to that time. His wars were terrifying. And yet, we are still fascinated to this day by the incredible energy, resourcefulness, and sheer brilliance of his military strategy.
With precision and panache, H. A. L. Fisher has written the definitive short biography of Napoleon, a book still treasured by historians and scholars to this day, and a work that still holds a prominent place in any bibliography of the Corsican. Written only 97 years after Waterloo, this classic biography remains the best of its type: a succinct, concise portrait of an egotistical genius whose powerful will directed the course of world events for an entire generation. Even to this day, the name Napoleon still gives rise to conflicting emotions.
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