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Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799-1815 (Napoleon Vol 2) Hardcover – 7 Nov 2013

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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: 24.2 x 6.9 x 15.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By coverstory on 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 By Rob C on 16 July 2015
Format: Hardcover
Napoleon is one of the great figures of history. His is the story of one man’s burning drive and ambition to reach for the heights and claim his glory. He is a figure that polarises opinion from virtually the day that he came onto the political scene to even today, with their being thousands of books written about him and the many aspects of his career, it’s rise and it’s fall.

This is the second volume of the life of Napoleon by Philip Dwyer and focuses on the 16 year period where Napoleon ruled France and a large part of Europe, from the Coup that brought him into power to the final, fateful battle of Waterloo. While covering only a span of 16 years, it was a frantic time, with numerous wars across Europe and a period of great internal change within France itself, as the revolution was done away with, and a monarchy was put in its place. New laws were brought into place (The famous Napoleonic Code) which actually form the basis for the law in many countries today, the settlement and reestablishment of the catholic church in France and the following struggles with the pope and numerous building works.

Philip Dwyer looks at this time with a deeply critical eye. There is a definite sense that the author is not a fan of Napoleon and argues that he was lucky (something which Napoleon has admitted to, luck does play a part in any great general, though to Napoleon it was more destiny then luck) in some of his battles and that his tactical skill was not as great as made out. Philip Dwyer argues that Napoleon’s direct impact was very little on some events, for example he had very little influence over the writing of the Napoleonic Code, but what he did enjoy was a great propaganda machine which was able to put forth the message that the regime wanted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 25 April 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Philip Dwyer is an authoritative author on the subject of Napoleon, and this is the second volume in his masterly two-volume biography of Napoleon. The book covers the time from Napoleon's coup at Brumaire to his downfall after Waterloo. A lot of action is packed into those sixteen years, and it is a remarkable journey that is charted through the book.

From Corsican general to Emperor of France, Napoleon's life was rather meteoric. He rose in a shining light, and fell to earth with a heavy thud. But it is the course of his journey that is so enthralling and interesting, even some two hundred years later. How did he apparently convince an entire nation (or enough of its citizens that it made a difference) to give him ultimate power? How did he create such a vast Empire, take over so much land, control so many peoples, stave off so many enemy armies, for so long? And why, where, when, and how did it all then go wrong for him?

Throughout, the author has stayed fairly closely to a chronological narrative, with background as required to bring the reader up to speed with what we needed to know to understand Napoleon's motivations. There is a close attention, necessarily, to military action. But there is also a very interesting analysis throughout of the use to which Napoleon put culture and propaganda in order to bolster and propagate his image to his people. I was left with the impression that Napoleon would have been a quite remarkable man, in whatever time he was born. He had an aura, a charisma, that marks some people out for special note in history.

The author's writing style is utterly engaging and the narrative of this book, like the first one in the two-volume biography, flows wonderfully, making for a totally enthralling reading experience.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By p sommerville on 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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