By Paul Johnson
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670030781, 208pp.)
Publication Date: May 13, 2002
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The very name, Napoleon Bonaparte, still enthralls. Ever since this towering and terrible genius conquered Europe, he has been endlessly debated, compared, and made an icon. In Napoleon, the great dictator's energy and acumen are matched by those of his biographer, Paul Johnson, whose histories have been lauded as "fresh, readable, provocative . . . wise" (Los Angeles Times). Here Johnson profiles "the grandest possible refutation of those who hold that events are governed by forces, classes, economics, and geography rather than the powerful wills of men and women."
With masterly eloquence, Napoleon charts Bonaparte's career from the barren island of Corsica and his early training in Paris-he was a bold soldier with an uncanny gift for math, maps, and strategy-through high-profile victories in Italy, military dictatorship, and campaigns across Europe to his end on the forsaken isle of St. Helena. In Napoleon's insatiable hunger for power, Johnson sees a realist unfettered by patriotism or ideology, a brilliant opportunist and propagandist who fulfilled his ambition in the aftermath of the French Revolution. He interprets Napoleon's life in the trajectory of his times, revealing how his complex and violent legacy seeded totalitarian regimes in the twentieth century and sounds an alert to us in the twenty-first.
Paul Johnson’s many books, including A History of Christianity, A History of the Jews, Modern Times, Churchill, and Napoleon: A Penguin Life, have been hailed as masterpieces of historical analysis. He is a regular columnist for Forbes and The Spectator, and his work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many others publications. He lives in London.