The Enlightened Despots: Frederick the Great and Prussia, Napoleon and Europe (Imperial Visions Series: The Rise and Fall of Empires)

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9780150040347: The Enlightened Despots: Frederick the Great and Prussia, Napoleon and Europe (Imperial Visions Series: The Rise and Fall of Empires)
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From its earliest beginnings thousands of years ago, the course of man's progress has been measured by his empires. Large, dynamic flows of power, people, and culture that merge, thrive, then break apart - the pieces only to merge again in a new configuration, the process to be repeated. Through pictures and words, "Empires: Their Rise and Fall" brings the reader face to face with many of the world's greatest empires. Full-color photographs are combined with an absorbing narrative in a lively historical account of each empire and an examination of the period's most enduring cultural achievements. This volume in the series focuses on Frederick the Great and Prussia, and Napoleon and Europe, comparing and contrasting these two great rulers who represented both the technocratic and the arbitrary traditions of kingship. Frederick the Great of Prussia (1712-1786) and Napoleon Bonaparte of France (1769-1821) shared a similar passion for the army and displayed remarkable military abilities that won them dominant positions in Europe. They also shared an unwavering devotion to long hours of official drudgery, overseeing every aspect of their rapidly growing administrations. Both men read widely, particularly in the practical literature applicable to day-to-day affairs: law, finance, trade, military science, and politics. Neither tolerated political opposition. The result was the creation of superb military machines amply supported by the full resources of the state. Both Frederick and Napoleon launched campaigns that brought glory to themselves and to the state - and untold misery to soldiers and taxpayers. Sober and practical in method but ambitious in aim, the Enlightened Despots enjoyed absolute power that they used to build or destroy their states according to whim and temperament.

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