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Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799-1815 (Napoleon Vol 2) [Hardcover]

Philip Dwyer
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: £30.00
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Book Description

7 Nov 2013 Napoleon Vol 2

'Napoleon's legend is so persistent that it confounds the historical reality in the popular imagination. He himself contributed much towards the construction of his own myth, from his youth even until after he fell from power, when, while in exile, he dictated his memoirs to a group of disciples who took down his every word in the hope that his version of history would prevail. Such were Napoleon's skills as a chronicler that much of the legend is still unquestioningly accepted...'

This second volume of Philip Dwyer's outstanding biography sheds further fresh light on one of the great figures of modern history. After a meteoric rise, a military-political coup in 1799 established Napoleon Bonaparte in government, aged just thirty. This meticulously researched study examines the man in power, from his brooding obsessions and capacity for violence, to his ability to inspire others and realise his visionary ideas. One of the first truly modern politicians, Napoleon skilfully fashioned the image of himself that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day; Philip Dwyer's ambitious, definitive work separates myth from history to offer us anew one of history's most charismatic and able leaders.


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Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799-1815 (Napoleon Vol 2) + Napoleon: Path to Power 1769 - 1799 v. 1 + Wellington: The Path to Victory 1769-1814
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 816 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (7 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747578087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747578086
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.6 x 7.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 80,167 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Five books about wars impressed me this year: Roger Knight's immaculately researched Britain against Napoleon: the Organisation of Victory 1793-1815; Philip Dwyer's Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799-1815 which gives, in depth, the other side of that coin (Simon Heffer, New Statesman Books of the Year)

The main purpose of the concluding volume of Dwyer's life of Napoleon is not to explain why he became such a revered general, but rather to unpick his complex character and asses his political and military achievements. He succeeds brilliantly and we are left with a nuanced portrait of a ruthless and far from infallible leader who concealed his defeats, exaggerated his victories and blamed other for his failings ... Philip Dwyer has produced a fitting sequel to his early life of Napoleon Bonaparte that will be hard to emulate. What it lacks in battlefield colour it more than makes up for by its subtle and judicious assessment of Napoleon the man and Napoleon the politician (Literary Review)

He is very good on the tensions and rows ripping through the Bonaparte family, which was such an important element in the whole enterprise. Here, as everywhere, he produces nice detail and the telling anecdote ... a very fine book, which explains Napoleon's extraordinary rise to power and equally meteoric fall, with great erudition, skill and verve (Adam Zamoyski, Spectator)

Exemplary scholarship ... A book of meticulous research and beautifully detailed descriptions of Napoleon's military adventures, brings home the full horrific cost of the march on Russia (New Statesman)

Book Description

The second volume of a new and comprehensive biography about one of the history's most charismatic leaders

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly readable but with some flaws 1 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this weighty volume of 560 pages in a little over three weeks and as with Professor Dwyer's first Volume of Napoleon's life I have thoroughly enjoyed it. The author's style makes easy reading and what comes across in the text is generally not a very flattering portrait of Napoleon as Consul or Emperor. Professor Dwyer attributes most of Napoleon's actions, whether in victory or defeat, as being carried out mainly by self interest. He does acknowledge Napoleon's genius in some battles but suggests that Napoleon was lucky in others even though he notes Napoleon claimed that these latter were great victories brought about by his skill alone and although there are detailed accounts of Napoleon's campaigns I would have liked more detail about these major clashes. When it comes to Napoleon's other achievements Professor Dwyer is again less than fulsome in his praise: for instance he attributes the Code Napoleon mainly to the work of others, Napoleon providing only a guiding hand. Finally I found that many of the pictures and engravings reproduced in the text were too dark to make out the detail referred to in the text and it would have been a good idea to include a list of diagrams and maps of the campaigns with page numbers at the beginning of the book so that they could easily have been looked up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Egomaniac Emperor 27 Aug 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the second volume of the author's account of the epochal career of Napoleon. This biography is not at all blinded by the elan of the period's uniforms nor by the glorious David paintings nor the excitement of revolutionary France nor the whole mythology of the era.

The author is saying, at least by heavy implication, that Bonaparte wrecked the prospect - even the likelihood - of a more democratic and moderate France evolving from the late 1790s, once the period of the Terror had receded into the past.

Without the self-aggrandising opportunism of Napoleon, France might have emerged into a more peaceful type of big hitter in the European politics in the early 1800s, rather than the militarily predatory state headed by Bonaparte.

Thus, if the Brumaire coup had failed or the 'infernal machine' assassination attempt on Napoleon had succeeded, then the lives of hundreds of thousands of young Frenchmen and those of so many other Europeans could have been saved from destruction as a consequence of the Emperor's increasingly insane warmongering.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Huge detail but glaring omissions 19 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover
This is a peculiar book. Of the 780 odd pages in the hardback edition, over 200 are footnotes. There are footnotes on the footnotes and yet for all the apparent erudition, we still hear on page 391 that the Russians set fire to St. Petersburg as they retreated. Clearly neither the author nor the publisher could be bothered to proofread. There are reams devoted to iconography and every portrait of Napoleon is described in excruciating detail. It is a shame that each is reproduced in grainy black and White so that you cannot see any of what is described. I find it amazing that there is not one colour plate in the whole book; nor is there one decent map; inexcusable for a history of conquest. The military details are perfunctory. The war in Spain is completelyignored. This book is all about Napoleon's management of his own PR. Consequently, there is nothing new or interesting here. I am no wiser about the man or what drove him or even how he stayed in power so long. There are many better books on the subject out there. Don't buy this one
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5.0 out of 5 stars life of Napoleon 28 Sep 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
good read well researched life of Napoleon second book marking the time in power ,the book itself is good quality and reasonable price
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