This famous series examines key themes in British, European and World history in short, succinct volumes. The text is supported by primary material in a Documents section, a full bibliography and an index; where appropriate there are maps, chronologies and glossaries. All the books in the series are written by experts in the field who are not only familiar with the latest research but have often contributed to it. Works of scholarship in their own right, the books also provide a survey of current historical interpretations. Longman has now inaugurated a major programme of renewal and expansion for Seminar Studies, with many new titles and new editions in the pipeline. Existing books are being re-presented in a larger, more reader-friendly format as they reprint; and new books and new editions are being reset into an entirely new page design.
This popular Seminar Study assesses the extraordinary career of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Corsican general who rose to power in the wake of the French Revolution and whose armies were to change the face of mainland Europe. By 1810 Napoleon s empire stretched from the Adriatic to the Baltic and yet, by 1815 he was in exile, imprisoned by the British on St Helena, a rocky outcrop in the middle of the Atlantic. This book provides readers with a succinct introduction to, and overview of, Napoleon s impact on France and Europe. It examines his contribution to the crucial changes in warfare during this period, and considers the reasons for the ultimate defeat of Napoleon s armies and the collapse of his empire.
David Wright begins his study by tracing Napoleon s roots in Corsica and, most importantly, his training at the Ecole Militaire in Paris, one of the elite institutions of the ancien régime. In 1793 Napoleon displayed his military genius by recapturing Toulon for the revolutionary government. As a consequence he was rapidly promoted, and in 1796, at the age of twenty-six, was given command of the Army of Italy. This was the beginning of an astonishing career that was to culminate in the creation of a Napoleonic empire that covered virtually the whole of Europe. David Wright analyses the main stages of this transformation and considers whether Napoleon was merely an unprincipled opportunist or a true devotee of the Revolution.
The book concludes with an investigation of the Napoleonic legend and the historical controversies which surround it. The main text is supported by a chronology of the main events, and a fascinating selection of documents, including Napoleon s private letters to his wife, Josephine, the memoirs of his colleagues, official correspondence and police reports.
D.G.Wright was Reader in History at Huddersfield Polytechnic (now the University of Huddersfield) before his retirement.
Cover- Emile Jean Horace Vernet- The Battle of Friedland, June 1807, Won by Napoleon, Ch®teau de Versailles. Reproduced courtesy of Giraudon/Bridgeman Art Library.