One Hundred Days: Napoleon's Road to Waterloo

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Europe, 1815: the Great Powers believed that they had at last successfully crushed the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Divested of his empire, exiled to the tiny island of Elba, the ex-conqueror had no army, no money, no ships - nothing but an empty title and his unflagging ambition. But his audacity admitted no defeat. Mustering a minuscule army of a thousand men, with few supplies, he sailed for France and set into motion the events that over the next one hundred days would propel a beleaguered Europe once again ...
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Overview

Europe, 1815: the Great Powers believed that they had at last successfully crushed the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Divested of his empire, exiled to the tiny island of Elba, the ex-conqueror had no army, no money, no ships - nothing but an empty title and his unflagging ambition. But his audacity admitted no defeat. Mustering a minuscule army of a thousand men, with few supplies, he sailed for France and set into motion the events that over the next one hundred days would propel a beleaguered Europe once again into total war, ending with the catastrophic battle of Waterloo, the routing of his Grand Army, and his second - and final - exile. In One Hundred Days, Alan Schom shows us, in his lively, immediate narrative style, the inevitability of Napoleon's return from exile and his doomed bid for power. Landing unopposed on French soil, the emperor and his skeleton force began their march through a hostile countryside impoverished by years of war, famine, and conscription. Yet the charismatic leader managed to attract men and support: by the time they reached Paris with a force of 20,000, the Bourbon king Louis XVIII had abandoned the city, and Napoleon was greeted with parades and the shouts of citizens eager to align themselves with the stronger power. But war already loomed over his return. The Duke of Wellington and his Grand Allied Army, astonished and alarmed by Napoleon's rise from the ashes of exile, were already on the march and determined to quench him once and for all. The two armies met at Waterloo to fight the bitter three-day contest that would mark the end of Napoleon. Alan Schom's One Hundred Days is a detailed chronicle of the events that led up to the final fall of Napoleon, and a complex and vivid portrait of the personalities that surrounded him: the icily charming and self-serving Talleyrand; the brutal, fickle police minister Fouche, who helped form the first modern police state; the brave but vacillating Ney; the dogged Davout, the emperor's
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Schon ( Trafalgar ) writes of Napoleon's escape from Elba in February 1815 and his return ``like a thunderbolt'' to France. Rallying the nation behind him, he mustered his army and marched off to meet Wellington at Waterloo. Schon describes the extraordinary logistical feat carried out jointly by War Minister Louis Davout and Interior Minister Lazare Carnot while Napoleon himself concentrated on mobilizing the troops. Waterloo was a crushing defeat, to be sure, but Schon argues that Napoleon's basic plan of campaign was a good one. The main problem, he maintains, was that the senior army commanders (marshals Soult, Ney and Grouchy) either disobeyed Napoleon's orders or deliberately hindered their execution. No admirer of Bonaparte, Schon describes how, ``in utter defiance of the facts,'' his reputation rebounded after his death and developed into the Napoleon myth. This is a first-class reconstruction of Napoleon's final campaign. Illustrations. Paperback rights to Oxford. (Sept.)
Library Journal
General readers will enjoy this detailed and engagingly written account of an epic historical drama: Napoleon's escape from the island prison of Elba and vainglorious attempt to re-establish his throne in defiance of international accords. Popular historian Schom ( Trafalgar , LJ 11/15/90) speculates on Napoleon's motives; describes in detail the personalities of other key players, including the obese and ineffective King Louis XVIII; traces the Napo leonic regime's devastating effects on France; and evaluates the extent of both the hostility toward and support for the returned Emperor. Most importantly, the author frankly and honestly assesses the obstacles Napoleon faced in re-establishing his army, reorganizing his government, and consolidating his hold on a nation ravaged by and weary of war. This popular work does not pretend to offer new historical analyses or perspectives--just a fascinating and gripping narrative.-- Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689120978
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 9/28/1992
  • Pages: 320

Table of Contents

Prologue
Acknowledgments
I "Ile du Repos" 1
II The Sovereign of the Island of Elba 12
III "The Disturber of the Peace of the World" 34
IV The Brothers Bonaparte 57
V A Deadly Enemy 85
VI "The Most Wretched of All Professions" 107
VII A Land in Turmoil 127
VIII "Neither Peace Nor Truce" 160
IX Mobilization 192
X "Pour la Patrie" 221
XI Eve of Battle 241
XII Waterloo 262
XIII End of the Napoleonade 295
Epilogue 320
App. I. Chronology of Events 323
App. II. The Thirty-Two Military Divisions of Metropolitan France and Conquered Territories 325
App. III. Napoleon's Abdication Declaration, 22 June 1815 326
App. IV. Command Structure of French and Allied Armies at Waterloo 326
App. V. Napoleon's March on Paris, 1-20 March 1815 330
Bibliography 331
Notes 339
Index 385
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