By Philip Dwyer
Published Nov 2013
In 1799 a military-political coup established Napoleon Bonaparte in power in France, aged just thirty. Neither inevitable nor smooth, Napoleon’s rise to power was, by any standards, meteoric. Less than three years earlier, he had been a non-entity on the political and military scene. Now he was one of the major political contenders, and would in time become one of the great figures in world history.
This meticulously researched work examines the man in power. In the young leader’s early mistakes and wrong turns, in the concealing of his defeats, the exaggeration of his victories and the blaming of others for his own failings, Dwyer demonstrates the ruthless and limitless efforts made to fashion his image as the legitimate and patriarchal ruler of the new nation. From Paris, through successful campaigns in Italy and Austria, to the disastrous invasion of Russia and, finally, the war against the Sixth Coalition that would end his reign in Europe, Dwyer reveals the complex man behind the crown: his brooding obsessions, his propensity to violence, as well as his ability to inspire others and realise his visionary ideas.
One of the first truly modern politicians, Napoleon skilfully fashioned the image of himself – a hero who successfully dragged France back from the edge of the abyss – that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day. Brilliantly separating myth from history, this outstanding second volume in Philip Dwyer’s ambitious, definitive biography sheds further fresh light on one of the modern era’s most charismatic and able leaders.