Napoleon: The Path to Power, 1769-1799 [NOOK Book]

Overview

At just thirty years of age, Napoleon Bonaparte ruled the most powerful country in Europe. But the journey that led him there was neither inevitable nor smooth.  This authoritative biography focuses on the evolution of Napoleon as a leader and debunks many of the myths that are often repeated about him—sensational myths often propagated by Napoleon himself. Here, Philip Dwyer sheds new light on Napoleon’s inner life—especially his darker side and his passions—to reveal a ruthless, manipulative, driven man ...

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Napoleon: The Path to Power, 1769-1799

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Overview

At just thirty years of age, Napoleon Bonaparte ruled the most powerful country in Europe. But the journey that led him there was neither inevitable nor smooth.  This authoritative biography focuses on the evolution of Napoleon as a leader and debunks many of the myths that are often repeated about him—sensational myths often propagated by Napoleon himself. Here, Philip Dwyer sheds new light on Napoleon’s inner life—especially his darker side and his passions—to reveal a ruthless, manipulative, driven man whose character has been disguised by the public image he carefully fashioned to suit the purposes of his ambition.

Dwyer focuses acutely on Napoleon’s formative years, from his Corsican origins to his French education, from his melancholy youth to his flirtation with radicals of the French Revolution, from his first military campaigns in Italy and Egypt to the political-military coup that brought him to power in 1799. One of the first truly modern politicians, Napoleon was a master of “spin,” using the media to project an idealized image of himself. Dwyer’s biography of the young Napoleon provides a fascinating new perspective on one of the great figures of modern history.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Dwyer (modern history, Univ. of Newcastle, Australia; Napoleon and Europe) offers a thorough and engrossing examination of Napoleon Bonaparte's meteoric rise to power. He follows Napoleone di Buonaparte (who changed his name in 1796) from his birth in Corsica (1769) until the coup d'A©tat of 18 Brumaire (1799). The result is a truly human portrait of a man who claimed to be larger than life. Dwyer stresses that Napoleon was born into a clannish Corsican family heavily involved in the island's political intrigues and that his familial experiences served him well in the turbulent times of revolutionary France. Unraveling many of the myths connected with the early campaigns in northern Italy and Egypt, Dwyer shows that self-promotion was the engine driving Napoleon. He was a gifted political animal who skillfully embellished his early military achievements to create an aura of predestined greatness. These themes are not new (see, e.g., Stephen Englund's Napoleon: A Political Life), but they have never been explored in such detail. This first of a projected two-volume study will give the specialist or any interested reader a much deeper understanding of one of the most fascinating figures in world history and is essential for all Napoleonic collections.
—Jim Doyle

BBC History Magazine
“. . . more than just a canter across familiar terrain…an attractive addition to the literature on one of the most controversial figures in modern European history”—Thomas Munch-Petersen, BBC History Magazine

— Thomas Munch-Petersen

New York Sun

"An excellent history and a very good read."—John Merriman, New York Sun

— John Merriman

Booklist

"For readers interested in the French Revolution, Dwyer's biography possesses attractive narrative fluidity and long-term library value as a research source."—Booklist
Sunday Times of London

“Remarkable . . . . Even-handed and authoritative, this fascinating and highly enjoyable book will be an eye opener even to those who think they know the subject well”—Adam Zamoyski, Sunday Times of London

— Adam Zamoyski

Dallas Morning News

"Philip Dwyer''s scrupulously researched new biography Napoleon. . . reveals the very familiar and unromantic processes by which [Napoleon''s] power was acquired, or rather taken, from a public seduced by myths and romantic fictions."—David Walton, Dallas Morning News

— David Walton

Parameters: U.S. Army War College Quarterly

"[W]ell-written and thoughtfully argued. . . . one recommended to those interested in . . . Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Revolution. It should also be of great interest to political scientists studying the blend of the political and military arenas personified in one man."—Colonel James P. Herson, Jr., Parameters: U.S. Army War College Quarterly

— Colonel James P. Herson, Jr.,

The Journal of Military History

"Dwyer deserves praise for elements of his fresh, modern approach and exhaustive research. . . . [His] biography is fascinating in its unusual descriptions of Napoleon''s tribulations and his motivations."—Llewellyn Cook, The Journal of Military History

— Llewellyn Cook

The Historian

"An excellent read for the specialist of the French Revolution as well as the specialist in Bonapartism."--Anne York, The Historian

— Anne York

BBC History Magazine - Thomas Munch-Petersen
“. . . more than just a canter across familiar terrain…an attractive addition to the literature on one of the most controversial figures in modern European history”—Thomas Munch-Petersen, BBC History Magazine
New York Sun - John Merriman

"An excellent history and a very good read."—John Merriman, New York Sun
Sunday Times of London - Adam Zamoyski

“Remarkable . . . . Even-handed and authoritative, this fascinating and highly enjoyable book will be an eye opener even to those who think they know the subject well”—Adam Zamoyski, Sunday Times of London
Dallas Morning News - David Walton

"Philip Dwyer's scrupulously researched new biography Napoleon. . . reveals the very familiar and unromantic processes by which [Napoleon's] power was acquired, or rather taken, from a public seduced by myths and romantic fictions."—David Walton, Dallas Morning News

Parameters: U.S. Army War College Quarterly - Colonel James P. Herson

"[W]ell-written and thoughtfully argued. . . . one recommended to those interested in . . . Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Revolution. It should also be of great interest to political scientists studying the blend of the political and military arenas personified in one man."—Colonel James P. Herson, Jr., Parameters: U.S. Army War College Quarterly

The Journal of Military History - Llewellyn Cook

"Dwyer deserves praise for elements of his fresh, modern approach and exhaustive research. . . . [His] biography is fascinating in its unusual descriptions of Napoleon's tribulations and his motivations."—Llewellyn Cook, The Journal of Military History

The Historian - Anne York

"Enlightening. . . . An excellent read for the specialist of the French Revolution as well as the specialist in Bonapartism."—Anne York, The Historian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300148206
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 755,397
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Philip Dwyer is the author of Napoleon: The Path to Power and is senior lecturer at The University of Newcastle in Australia. He is author or editor of numerous publications on Napoleonic Europe.

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Table of Contents

List of Maps     xiii
A Note on the Use of Names     xv
Prologue: The Bridge at Arcola     1
The Outsider, 1769-1792
The Pleasure of Recognition
Imaginary Landscapes     11
Carlo and Paoli     14
'A Violent Enthusiasm for Liberty'     19
The Choice     22
A 'Vigorous and Rude' Education     26
'You Will Be My Avenger'
'A Sombre and Cantankerous Youth'     33
Death of the Father     38
A Corsican in France, a Frenchman in Corsica     42
Corsica in Revolution
An Island in Turmoil     53
Working towards the Revolution     58
The Return of the Babbo     66
Denunciations     72
Ambition Awakened
The Republican     76
'I Wanted You to Be Free'     83
The Easter Sunday Murders     88
Buonaparte, Paris and the Revolution     92
The Revolutionary, 1792-1796
Disillusion
Increasing Tensions     105
The Expedition to Sardinia     106
The Rupture     113
'Perpetual Infamy'     120
'It Is Better to Eat Than Be Eaten'     122
The Jacobin
Refugees     127
The Situation in the Midi     130
The Siege of Toulon     133
'Ville Infame'     140
Italy - the First Plans     145
Shifting Political Sands
Arrest     151
'My Tender Eugenie'     159
Paris: The Decisive Months     163
The Political Appointee
General Vendemiaire     171
'Seizing the Moon with His Teeth'     178
'A Proud Cajoler'     184
The Conquering Hero, 1796-1798
Innovation
First Impressions     195
An Army of Brigands     199
Defeating Piedmont     204
'The Moral Force of Victory'     209
Conquest and Pillage
The Entry into Milan     219
'I Thought Only of You'     223
The Price of Liberty     225
Lombardy in Revolt     227
Liberating Italian Art     234
'My Life is a Perpetual Nightmare'     238
Castiglione     245
Artists and Soldiers, Politics and Love
Rebirth - Arcola     248
Exploiting Victory     254
Love and Self-Pity     258
Breaking Free     265
Rivoli     268
The Apprenticeship of Power
Invading the Papal States     273
'Turn Their Thoughts towards the Idea of Liberty'     277
'Has the Rhine Been Crossed?'     282
The Liberator of Italy     286
The Veronese Easter     293
The Court at Mombello     296
Bonaparte the 'Italique'
Defending 'Liberty and its Friends'     304
Entering the Political Fray: The Coup of Fructidor     311
'Drunk with Happiness'     314
'A Pure and Great Giant of Glory'     320
The Civilizing Hero, 1798-1799
A Grandiose Exile
The Decision     333
The Philosopher General     343
Moments of Doubt     347
Confronting Egypt
Toulon     351
The Crossing     354
Malta     356
'Like Fish on the Plains of Saint-Denis'     361
Sand, Melancholy and Suicide     367
Conciliation and Terror: Governing Egypt
Tearing Away the Veil     375
Adapting     378
Disaffection     383
Distractions     385
The Plague     390
Repression     391
Prisoner of his Conquest
The Battle of the Nile     395
The Revolt of Cairo     401
The Decision to Invade Syria     407
The Limits of Imagination
'All Human Effort against Me is Useless'     412
The Massacre at Jaffa     416
Fear and Contagion     422
The Siege of St John of Acre     424
The End of the Dream
Retreat and Revenge     430
Aboukir: Defeat Atoned     439
The Flight from Egypt     442
Seizing Power, 1799
The Return of the Saviour
Like an 'Electric Shock'     449
'The Man Who Would Save France'     452
France on the Eve of the Coup     462
The 'Sword'     468
Negotiating a Role     470
The Plot     480
The Coup as Farce
The First Act     483
The Second Act     490
Denouement     495
The Final Scene     502
Epilogue
In Search of the Saviour     505
In Search of Bonaparte     514
Notes     521
Select Bibliography     599
Acknowledgements     627
Index     629
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2011

    Solid history -- no images

    I was previously quite ignorant about Napoleon. I'm not quite sure why I picked a book that is very specifically about Napoleon's rise to power rather than his overall impact on European history. Nevertheless, it was a great read and I wish Dwyer had a part two ready. Particularly, Dwyer shows how Napoleon was able to better take advantage of media than his rivals to gain prominence among the French public. I came away with a sense of Napoleon's rise resulting not just from some martial success and propaganda, but also simple luck and timing. The description of the actual coup was striking in how inept Napoleon himself seemed and how he relied on a network of supporters.

    Some cons -- the ending point of this book seems odd to me. If the purpose of the book is to chart Napoleon's path to power, then why stop before he is emperor?

    And one con that applies to the ebook specifically is the lack of images. Maps remain, but there are no prints of paintings or engravings. Considering how much the book discusses such images as key to Napoleon's popularity, I found it very frustrating to not be able to actual see the images being described. (one star off for this -- i would give 4 otherwise).

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2008

    Astute Opportunism: Bonaparte¿s Marching Order for Supreme Command

    In ¿Napoleon: The Path To Power,¿ Philip Dwyer successfully brings to life the first three decades in the existence of Napoleon Bonaparte. Readers who have a pre-existing knowledge of Bonaparte and his time will be the ones who will benefit the most from reading Dwyer¿s book. To his credit, Dwyer neither glorifies nor demonizes Bonaparte. Dwyer clearly explores the contradictions in the character of Bonaparte. Bonaparte started as a Corsican nationalist, then morphed into a servant of the French Revolution, and ended up as an imperialist who became supremely confident in his own personal destiny. Bonaparte transformed himself into what he has been remembered for because of his unmatched exploitation of the opportunities that he saw before him. Dwyer also shows with much conviction the active role that Bonaparte played in his own mythmaking. Although Bonaparte was talented, intelligent, and passionate, he was also a ruthless man. Bonaparte regarded people as pawns in his political and military calculations, to get rid of if they could no longer be useful. As Dwyer observes with much pertinence, that callousness towards the lives of others is not unusual in the character of a leading public personality. The more power a public figure amasses, the greater the indifference he / she will often display. To summarize, ¿Napoleon: The Path To Power¿ is a nice addition to the library of any person fond of history.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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