10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent, vivid , concise overview of a life less ordinary., 9 April 2012
Having studied Napoleon at an undergraduate level I have had to plough through many accounts of different phases of Napoleon's life. The hurdle for anybody wanting to write an account of Napoleon's life generally tends to be how much detail do you give to which aspects of his reign. Do you concentrate on his military genius, giving great detail into every battle that he commanded, or do you concentrate on his political actions , such as instigating the code napoleon,creating a uniform political structure that roughly formed modern Europe today? English authors have also concentrated on Wellington's role in Napoleon's downfall. The excellent task that Alan Forrest has achieved in this book, is that he gives an overview to all aspects of Napoleons life. He charts his rise to power from humble Corsican roots, his involvement in the aftermath of the French revolution, his early campaigns in Italy leading to disaster in Egypt, him becoming consul, stretching himself between Russia and Spain , his downfall, his exile, and the hundred days leading to Waterloo. Not only does Alan Forrest achieve covering all this, he does it in 330 pages, at no point does it seem rushed either. It is written in a very vivid style, at no point does the pace of the book plod. I would thoroughly recommend this for anybody as a starting point to understanding Napoleon. Then if you are interested in specific aspects, I.E. his military campaigns, you can read further into them with books specifically on that subject.
A truly excellent, entertaining read.