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Napoleon by [Forrest, Alan]
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Napoleon Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Length: 417 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'A book of supreme competence and reflection' Daily Express. (Daily Express)

'A valuable and entertaining addition to the vast and still burgeoning Napoleonic oeuvre' Literary Review. (Literary Review)

'The biographer of Napoleon faces a daunting task: separating legend from reality, making sense of his contradictory legacy, and (most difficult of all) identifying a common thread in a character so obviously driven by conflicting impulses. Alan Forrest squarely confronts these challenges, and his Napoleon is a creditable addition to the literature' Times Literary Supplement. (Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Alan Forrest is Professor of Modern History and Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. He works on modern French history, especially the period of the French Revolution and Empire, and on the history of modern warfare. He serves on the editorial boards of French History and War in History, and is a member of the advisory committee for Annales historiques de la Revolution Française.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2610 KB
  • Print Length: 417 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (27 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0073BHD90
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #210,505 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What Napoleon did is easy to explain. What is more difficult is how and why. Forrest completes this task by first introducing the social and political atmosphere of France post revolution. From this starting point, the rise, rise, fall, rise and fall (life to death) of Napoleon is presented in a readable but thorough manner. I never felt like too much or too little detail was given.

I think this book could be read without any prior knowledge of Europe 1789 but sometimes a short visit to wikipedia may help to refresh upon some events and people.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book spans the whole of Napoleon's life: his upbringing on Corsica, his education in France, his rise through the ranks of power in a particularly propitious environment during the French Revolution where he might otherwise have remained a soldier, ostracised from the aristocracy; it covers his rise to consul, his campaigns, his years as Emperor, his defeat in Russia leading to depleted forces, invasion, exile, escape, resurgence and the final fireworks in Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.

So many significant events punctuate this period that in trying to cover them all Forrest can only present an introduction or overview rather than a comprehensive study. Evidently there are many topics of interest which can only be broadly covered: Napoleon's propaganda and image-projection, Napoleon's love-life, his battle tactics and his mastery of both the political and military spheres. Forrest analyses the motivations of the Frenchman, giving a measured and understandable viewpoint on why he did what he did, and what his real thoughts were based on his actions rather than the constantly manipulated image which he portrayed to the public, most notably in his memoirs written in exile.

Due to the complicated period of history, I found this a book to be read in chunks rather than bits. It is 4 star because although very interesting it lacks the sparkle and panache of a book which stays with you forever. It feels as if the small, quirky details which make history so exciting are cast aside too often in Forrest's agenda to cover the whole period in so little space.

Ultimately this book does exactly what it says on the tin/the blurb: it gives a realist account of how a seemingly unexceptional boy became the world's greatest general and captured the imagination of a nation in his lifetime and long after his death.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This isnt a very scholarly review compared to other historical biographies I have read and is all the better for it. You dont have to be an expert of the time, or have an understanding of military tactics, as I feared you might given the subject but this is a very readable, unbiased and informative book. Highly recommended
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A good biography of Napoleon Bonaparte but only usefull as a summary of the events in the life of this towering figure. The book lacks insight in Napoleons strategic achievements and battle analysis. It is more full in events regarding the current political situration but even in this field it is far behind in comparison to other biographies like that of Frank McLynn. Maybe more useful as an introduction to Napoleon's life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was curious to read more about Napoleon, and the writer Alan Forrest gets good reviews in the BBC History Magazine, so I thought, I'll have this.

Strong narrative, with an enjoyable insight to the time period.

I started liking Napoleon, but as the book progressed, I learnt that he was nothing more than an opportunist - right place at the right time. Well, that's what I took from it.

A good buy.
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Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want a short biography of Napoleon, this is for you. It is stronger on the political side than the military side.
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