Customer Reviews


6 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The man of the epoch, 29 Dec. 2001
This review is from: The Rise And Fall Of Napoleon Vol 1: Rise v. 1 (Paperback)
When a man encompasses a whole age, indeed when he becomes one of the few historical figures that everybody knows like Caesar and Genghis Khan and Abraham Lincoln there are going to be problems selecting what goes into a biography and what gets left out. Robert Asprey concentrates more on the military aspect of Napoleon's life. Those readers who wish to know about Bonaparte's martial exploits will probably be more than satisfied with this book. Asprey doesn't confine himself to this area; there is plenty about his character, his reading, his origins and those around him, but when you realise that people write thick detailed books about one of Napoleon's relationships (himself and Josephine), then you can understand Asprey's limited focus. And let's face it, if he didn't win all those battles would we still be interested in him. Probably, but it is difficult to separate his military success from his greatness. In summation a good book which I felt a great deal of satisfaction completing. It has impelled me to read further about Napoleon if only to compare his other biographers, and perhaps because the subject is so fascinating.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An epic, worthwhile read, 27 July 2005
This review is from: The Rise And Fall Of Napoleon Vol 1: Rise v. 1 (Paperback)
"The Rise and Fall of Napoleon Bonaparte", whilst an ambitious work to undertake, would nevertheless be a fascinating read no matter its author. Asprey states that he has tried to tackle the work from a neutral perspective, avoiding the deification or demonisation attributed to other notable works, and whilst he does well to present both arguments where necessary, the author's genuine admiration for this great man almost always shines through.
As no expert in military matters, perhaps there was a great deal of the work's content I was unqualified to appreciate, but as Asprey is a former US Marine Corps captain, no doubt his coverage of the various campaigns and battles that Napoleon is so infamous for was expertly done, and anyone with an interest in the Napoleonic Wars as well as the man himself would be well recommended to make this purchase as an overview of the whole period.
Of course, there has been much necessarily left out of this work, which is of a prodigious length as it stands. Sadly there was insufficient room to cover in depth Napoleon's love affairs, legal reforms, or national policies. Indeed his transformation from General to First Consul to Emperor might seem rushed and perhaps confusing, and even coverage of the major battles themselves, which is the work's forte, might leave the reader searching for greater detail elsewhere.
Nevertheless there are a great many reasons to recommend these two volumes. For those casually interested in the man and the period, the work lends itself well to casual readers and academics alike, but its heavy leaning toward the military aspects of Napoleon's life must be noted. The only serious criticism that can be brought against Asprey's treatment of Napoleon, aside from pedantic arguments over its content, must be the exclusion of a suitable summary, overview or conclusion of his life. "The Fall" ends abruptly with Napoleon's death on St Helena, with no final word from the author concerning Napoleon's overall impact on Paris, France or Europe in general; perhaps this is no criticism at all, forcing the reader to make up their own mind from a well presented history of this much debated character.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Napoleon for a New Century, 24 April 2001
By A Customer
In what is perhaps the first full-length biography of Napoleon in English of the twenty-first century, Robert Asprey turns to the nineteenth century for his inspiration. Asprey, a former U.S. Marine captain, has previously written on military topics. The present volume covers Napoleon's life up to his stunning victory at Austerlitz. Primarily a military history, in spite of Asprey's apparent aspirations as revealed in his "Note to the Reader," Asprey glosses over lightly Napoleon's political achievements. The political changes wrought by Brumaire as quickly dealt with in one short chapter. The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte therefore does not replace other biographies of Napoleon, such as Vincent Cronin's, that gives more attention to the political and cultural aspects of Napoleon's life. Asprey points out Napoleon's egoism, his ambition, his quick temper, all of his faults, but does not dwell on them unduly. The events of Napoleon's life are given precedence over moralizing about or psychoanalyzing that life. Generally Asprey avoids trying to divine what Napoleon was thinking and instead tries to explain Napoleon's actions in the context of the times and of Napoleon's life.
Written in forty-eight short chapters, the book is based entirely on secondary sources, both in English and in French. Asprey relies largely on the classic work of historians of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries for his sources, though he does make extensive use of research done by modern historians in journals and in papers presented to the Consortium on Revolutionary Europe. And Asprey often lets Napoleon speak for himself through liberal use of the Emperor's voluminous correspondence. After a perhaps too brief an overview of Napoleon's life before 1789 -Napoleon's early years are dealt with in a mere 80 pages before his arrival at Toulon. Asprey jumps almost immediately into Napoleon's military career. The author presents a highly simplistic overview of the background dynamics of the French Revolution (which Asprey obviously abhors).
Asprey presents a fairly even-handed look at Napoleon's career, however. He does not excuse Napoleon's actions, but does not moralize over them either. At times I found the analysis somewhat superficial, especially when dealing with political matters. Another criticism is that the volume could use more maps. There are just seven maps included (the advertised maps of the end papers are missing) and those are all of whole theaters of war except for one small, not very detailed, map of the battlefield of Austerlitz. There are just 27 illustrations spread throughout the text, mainly portraits of personages mentioned -nine of which are of Napoleon's marshals. On the whole, these pictures don't add much to the book. Some minor errors have crept into the books, some of which could be editing errors. Another shortcoming of the book is that the index is only partially analytical. The prose is straightforward, factual and unadorned. It lacks the élan that the subject lends itself to and there are no literary flourishes or vivid descriptions of battles. I get no feeling of an "old soldier" writing of another old soldier as I do when reading Elting's books. Asprey deals with the battle of Marengo, for example, in a scant five pages.
Asprey has taken a fresh, if somewhat superficial, look at Napoleon's life. The book is factual and informative and can be recommended especially to those new to Napoleon and his life. It would make a fine companion to Vincent Cronin's Napoleon Bonaparte which, while laudatory, does give a much better picture of the non-military side of Napoleon's life. I look forward to the second volume.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good reference, 29 April 2002
By A Customer
A very interesting insight into one of the greatest military minds in European history. Albeit a man who is shown to have many personal failings due to his seemingly hugely inflated ego. The author spends many pages relating factual battle details (which indicates his own personal military background and interests). Robert Asprey clearly researchs his works thoroughly and writes with clarity and authority. Both this volume and its hardback follow up make compulsive reading for anyone new to this period or indeed for the better read historian. If you have taken the trouble to read this vol. I highly recommend you follow it up with volume two: The Fall... which goes on from triumph in Austria right through to the interjection of corrupt French politions of the time who colluded [both domestically and with France's enemies. Particularly the Russian Czar] and thus greatly contributed to the downfall of Naboleon as Emperor. If his political mind had been as astute as his military mind he may have chosen to dispose of these individuals as he readily did his military foes.
This aside another area to research in compliment to this excellent compilation is that of Thomas Cochrane, The Life and Exploits of a Fighting Captain, as penned by Robert Harvey. In this you learn of the Lord Cochranes, (liberator of Chile and later, Admiral of Brazil), mad cap idea of liberating Napolean from St. Helena to rule as Emperor of the South Americas. Napolean unfortunately or fortunately depending on your standpoint, died before this dream could be undertaken.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars objective and fascinating, 31 Jan. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Rise And Fall Of Napoleon Vol 1: Rise v. 1 (Paperback)
Asprey states in the preface that he intends to write an objective account of Napoleon's life as for to long his image has swayed between demigod and Satan incarcerated. i can say that he has done his job well and had give us a wonderful work that covers the whole of napoleons amazing life from his mothers womb during Corsica's fight against french occupation to his sad end on St Helena island. he holds nothing back and while describing his amazing leadership skills and patronage to the arts and sciences he also describes his some might call 'plundering' of art from the places he conquered and carting them off to paris to be displayed there and his blood curdling messages on how villages that rebelled were to be dealt with. yet he doesn't say any criticism of him on this and just simply states what happened. he also even defends him on the areas of his life were he is most criticised and offers up all the facts which his detractors chose to ignore like on his apparent abandoning of his army in egypt. all in all this is a wonderful book yet it doesn't offer much in the way of passion or a greater insight into Napoleon the man and what he was really like to meet and more maps would have been nice. i greatly enjoyed this and i often couldn't put it down and left with a great understanding of napoleon's life and his military campaigns.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Its true you can find anything on Amazon!, 5 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Rise And Fall Of Napoleon Vol 1: Rise v. 1 (Paperback)
Got this for my dad as he specified what he would like for his birthday! I bought Volumes 1 and 2. He seemed to be thrilled with his bit a light reading in the evening!! Having said that he didn't manage to pass them onto anyone else...I don't know why??! :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Rise And Fall Of Napoleon Vol 1: Rise v. 1
The Rise And Fall Of Napoleon Vol 1: Rise v. 1 by Robert Asprey (Paperback - 6 Sept. 2001)
£12.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews