This book is one of the ‘Access to History’ series published by Hodder Education, designed specifically to offer subjects to advanced level history students. When I looked on Hodder Education’s website at this series of books, there seem to be well over 100 currently available, on all sorts of historical subjects.
The book is laid out in a very accessible and approachable manner, incorporating written and visual material to aid in understanding, and importantly in understanding the history specifically within the context of its own time. So this book covers Napoleon’s life, but within his role as a Corsican and French citizen, a French general and ruler, and within the context of France’s role in Europe and beyond over Napoleon’s lifetime and beyond, viewing his legacy as well.
The chapters are: 1. Napoleon: Background and Rise to Power 2. The Coup of Brumaire 1799 3. Establishing Power 4. Consolidating Power 5. Napoleon and Europe: Conquest and Empire 1796-1807 6. The Napoleonic Empire 1804-10 7. Napoleon and Empire: Decline and Fall c.1810-15 8. Napoleon: Impact and Legacy
Each chapter begins with a summary of “Points to Consider” for the chapter, and a list of Key Dates. Main subheadings are clearly outlined, and relevant subheadings, so that the information is offered in digestible chunks. Key questions are highlighted, and key terms defined and clarified throughout. There are plenty of maps, and illustrations. Sections end with summary diagrams, offering a visual remembrance of the material that has just been covered. Chapters end with questions to consider, in the form of AS and/or AS questions, key debates and historians’ views on aspects of the material covered in the chapter. There is, at the end of the book, a concise and up-to-date list of Further Reading options, and a Glossary of relevant terms.
This book is brilliant to give a newcomer an overview to Napoleon, France and Empire, or to give someone who already had some understanding of the subjects a good refresher. The information is presented in a way that is easy to take on board, to refer to, and to recollect. This book is a great reference and learning tool. Highly recommended; and I will most definitely look for more in this wonderful series. Top marks to Hodder Education for this great series of books.
Book is easy to use and contains a helpful glossary. Sections at the end of each chapter give exam advice. I did find it lacked detail in places but covers everything you really need to know. Price is a bit steep!