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The most polarizing man of his era, Napoleon Bonaparte has remained a source of controversy ever since. Did his dictatorship crush the French Revolution, or carry its ideals to their logical conclusion? Was he a conqueror-tyrant who sought war for the sake of glory, or was he forced into conflict to defend his beloved France? Was he a throwback to sixteenth-century “absolute monarchs,” or the great modernizer of nineteenth-century Europe? Or was he all of these things at once?
In this compact, highly readable biography, Jack Hughes examines these questions and more. He traces Napoleon’s history back to the bloody hillsides of Corsica, from his rise as a young artillery officer to the summit of greatness. We see at how Napoleon’s rule forever changed a continent, but also how his overreach led to his shocking fall from power. To understand the story of Napoleon, Hughes persuasively shows, is to understand Europe itself—both in Napoleon’s era and today.
"If you want a thing done well, do it yourself." - Napoleon Bonaparte
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