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Napoleon in Egypt: 'The Greatest Glory' [Paperback]

Paul Strathern
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jun 2008

Napoleon's attack on Egypt in 1798 was the first on a Middle Eastern country by a Western power in modern times. With 335 ships and 40,000 men, it was the largest long-distance seaborne force the world had ever seen. Napoleon's assault was intended to be much more than a colonial adventure, however, for he took with him over one hundred and fifty scientists, mathematicians, artists and writers - a 'Legion of Culture' - with a view to bringing Western civilization to 'backward' Egypt.

Ironically, what these intellectuals discovered in Egypt would transform our knowledge of Western civilization and form the basis of Egyptology. But there were also setbacks. Nelson's destruction of the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile apparently put an end to Napoleon's secret plans to follow in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and invade India.

Napoleon was just twenty-eight when he invaded Egypt and it was an episode which contained in embryo many seminal events of his later career and set the standard for his brilliant, ambitious and ultimately disastrous career.


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Napoleon in Egypt: 'The Greatest Glory' + 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow + Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844139174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844139170
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 359,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Paul Strathern's enthralling description of this bizarre imperial adventure reads like Conrad's Heart of Darkness...as a piece of storytelling, it is a masterpiece" (Daily Telegraph)

"To begin with, the book leaps off the shelf-display into the hands: the dustjacket is a remarkably fine reproduction of a painting of Napoleon...This is an illuminating and most engaging book" (Spectator)

"Superb... Strathern tells the appalling tale of the forced marches across endless deserts...with commendable gusto" (Andrew Roberts Sunday Telegraph)

"An ambitious and wonderfully detailed saga" (Financial Times)

"This is popular narrative history at its best" (Independent on Sunday)

Book Description

The extraordinary story of Napoleon's eighteen month Egyptian adventure and his dream of world power.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By john
Format:Paperback
this was a truly amazing book. i had hopes this would give me a good account of the egyptian campaign and in this it more then surpassed my expectations. the authors writes in a very engaging way and there were times were i was utterly entraweld in the story, favorite part definitely being the part on the advance into upper egypt which was the furthest a european army had advanced since the romans as they walked into uncharted territory, the wonder of the ancient egyptian ruins, the tales from a african prince on faraway places and the bountiful supplies of food they found in this prosperous region. battles are describes very well and come with detailed maps on units positions and maneuvers giving you a great view of it. i don't believe anyone will find a better book on the egyptian campaign then this one as the detail is huge and the writing style engaging. i would wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone with even a remote interest in the napoleonic era
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the gripping, fascinating treatment of an otherwise relatively unknown but significant military campaign in Egypt by Napoleon. Egypt was to be the intended springboard to his vision for an Empire of the East along the same lines as that of Alexander the Great before him.

Thoroughly researched and well balanced, this book is an excellent read, with all the best hallmarks of a 'ripping yarn'. An absolute 'must' for all those who enjoy a good military history, but not least 'Napoleon' enthusiasts and all those of us who've come to appreciate what a deservedly popular history writer Paul Strathern is.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for Napoleon Fans 22 Jun 2007
Format:Hardcover
"A must read for any fans of Napoleon or the period. Napoleon in Egypt is scholarly, insightful and also good fun. The resonance of Napoleon invading Egypt - and today's incursions into the East - make Napoleon In Egypt all the more readable and rewarding."
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great history book 10 July 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book to anyone intereseted in the history of the Napoleonic wars in general and/or Napoleon in general. It is a great read.

Starthern has written a very readable and enjoyable study of Napoleon's campaign in Egypt covering in detail (with maps) the various battles of this amazing episode, including Nelson's Battle of the Nile, and the Battle of the Pyramids, the characters involved; the Generals, the Beys and Mamelukes, the Savants and the experiences of the French soldiers.

I felt it read like good historical novel in places and being a big fan of historic fiction (books like the Sharpe series) this added to my enjoyment. Read this book!
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delusions of Grandeur 8 Aug 2007
Format:Hardcover
A belief that one is Napoleon is a common cypher for madness. But such delusions of grandeur are not confined to comic references to asylums inmates; Old Boney himself had visions of being the next Alexander the Great. Unlike most lunatics, however, when thwarted in his designs for an Oriental empire, he settled for being the next Julius Caesar with a European empire instead. He was an extraordinary man without a doubt.

One fascinating aspect of his expedition to Egypt in 1798 was the presence of 167 savants, learned men in every walk of science and the arts, including the great mathematician Fourier, who accompanied the general and his army. Napoleon had recently been made a member of the Institute of France, and regarded this honour more highly than his military rank. Once ensconced in Cairo he formed an Institute of Egypt, and the work of this body formed the basis of modern Egypotology, tetraology and other important strands of learning. However, despite Napoleon's ardent attempts to appear to be the friend of Islam, the occupation suffered a fundamental failure to understand the country he was trying to civilise; the first attempt in modern times by a western power to occupy a Middle Eastern country holds parallels for the latest efforts to import western political systems. `The very core of what the French thought they were bringing to the Egyptians ... was not only incomprehensible but offensive to the people they were addressing. This was a situation which the French, in their turn, would soon begin to find incomprehensible and offensive.'

Unfortunately the military descriptions are badly let down by the author's continuous reference to `rifles', something the French army of the period did not have.
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