• by H.A.L. Fisher
  • Narrated by Charlton Griffin
  • 7 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Between 1796 and 1815, the continent of Europe was held in thrall by one of the most remarkable personalities of modern times, a man whose name was on the lips of every man, woman, and child: Napoleon Bonaparte. Certainly, one would have to go back to the time of Charlemagne to find his equal on the field of battle, in the halls of diplomacy, or in the courts of jurisprudence.Napoleon not only remade France, he remade it to suit his own personal preferences. Although not himself a revolutionary, Napoleon was nevertheless determined to wipe away the stultifying remnants of the ancient regime once and for all and to replace it with a society firmly grounded on republican least outwardly. The fact of the matter was, Napoleon played the role of a tyrant. And although he spoke on behalf of the common man, his ultimate bequest to the people of France was a prolonged war stretching from the Iberian peninsula to the streets of Moscow, from the farmland of Holland to the Nile River, and leaving behind the greatest carnage ever known up to that time. His wars were terrifying. And yet, we are still fascinated to this day by the incredible energy, resourcefulness, and sheer brilliance of his military strategy.
With precision and panache, H. A. L. Fisher has written the definitive short biography of Napoleon, a book still treasured by historians and scholars to this day, and a work that still holds a prominent place in any bibliography of the Corsican. Written only 97 years after Waterloo, this classic biography remains the best of its type: a succinct, concise portrait of an egotistical genius whose powerful will directed the course of world events for an entire generation. Even to this day, the name Napoleon still gives rise to conflicting emotions.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A very good short biography

I was attracted to this biography because I like the narrator and because this was a short work, not because I like Napoleon. Napoleon is important in our history, however, and it seemed imperative to me that I should know a little more about him than what I learned in college history. But this is NOT a comprehensive history that hangs on every last event in Napoleon's life. It is a very broad overview of his career and the times in which he lived. The nittty gritty details of battles and strategy are not here. Which was okay with me. I discovered that the book was written around 1900 and that it is highly regarded among historians. That said, you have to pay attention. This is NOT one of those recordings to while away a dreary afternoon with. As a means of getting a really good grasp of the meaning of Napoleon and his impact on European and world history, it is great. If you're looking for military history and strategy, you'll probably want something in depth. The book has a style that may render it unpalatable to some people, so you'd better listen carefully to the sample before you bite. For my money it was worth it.
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- Theresa

Bad prose, poor insights

A frustrating book, poorly written (incredibly convoluted text, with awkward passive voice and double negatives used *together* a common device) and which misses the point of almost every chapter.

Virtually no discussion of Napoleon's background (the political & historical situation in 18th century Corsica is assumed!) and family.

Most of the discussion is about the brilliant geographic machinations of the military campaigns... but sadly, an audiobook makes maps a _bit_ obscure.

The politics of the court and secondary French revolutions is very poorly described, with reference to many incidents which aren't actually recounted.

I gave up after ~40%. Luckily, there are other Napoleon biographies, even here at Audible.
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- Gary

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-10-2004
  • Publisher: Audio Connoisseur