“A brilliant biography which will surely become a classic life of Napoleon.”—The Times [London]Author McLynn explores the Promethean legend from his Corsican roots, through the chaotic years of the French Revolution and his extraordinary military triumphs, to the coronation in 1804, to his fatal decision in 1812 to add Russia to his seemingly endless conquests, and his ultimate defeat, imprisonment, and death in Saint Helena. McLynn aptly reveals the extent to which Napoleon was both existential hero and plaything of fate, mathematician and mystic, intellectual giant and moral pygmy, great man and deeply flawed human being.
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Napoleon Bonaparte was a bully, rude and insulting. Women did not like him. But even so, writes Frank McLynn, "he had an amazing ability to sway other men to his purposes," which earned him one of the greatest empires Europe had ever known. McLynn, a noted biographer of difficult personalities, gives us a many-sided Napoleon: the shrewd strategist, the intolerant prude, the scrappy fighter, the charismatic leader, the sadist. ("He liked to strike people of both sexes, to slap them, pull their hair, pinch their ears and tweak their noses.") He nonetheless managed to extend French rule to the gates of Moscow. Why, then, was he so resoundingly defeated? McLynn argues that, among other things, Napoleon was not ruthless enough in dealing with the "endless list of ingrates" that surrounded him.
McLynn's book has several virtues, and readers interested in Napoleon's brief but brilliant career will want to have a look. --Gregory McNameeAbout the Author:
Frank McLynn has over twenty books to his name, including his acclaimed biographies of Napoleon and Richard the Lionhearted. His other books include Richard and John: Kings at War; Villa and Zapata; 1066; Heroes & Villains; and Napoleon: A Biography. McLynn is a graduate of Oxford and London University. He lives in London.
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