Washington & Napoleon: Leadership in the Age of Revolution

Overview

George Washington became president of the newly formed United States just as the French Revolution erupted in 1789, a moment that would pave the way for Napoleon and his eventual empire. In this momentous year, the Americans consolidated the gains of their rebellion, and the French embarked upon a more radical transformation of their own. Though strikingly different, the American and French revolutions gave rise to Washington and Napoleon, two wildly popular generals who led new...
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Washington & Napoleon: Leadership in the Age of Revolution

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Overview

George Washington became president of the newly formed United States just as the French Revolution erupted in 1789, a moment that would pave the way for Napoleon and his eventual empire. In this momentous year, the Americans consolidated the gains of their rebellion, and the French embarked upon a more radical transformation of their own. Though strikingly different, the American and French revolutions gave rise to Washington and Napoleon, two wildly popular generals who led new forces on battlefields across their respective territories.

Matthew J. Flynn and Stephen E. Griffin’s military analysis of these two men includes the political context of their lives. As a military equal of Napoleon, Washington posed just as great a threat to the life of the fledging American republic that Napoleon did to representative government in France. Both generals assumed their offices with a similar purpose in mind: transferring sovereignty from the people to an individual leader. Yet, Washington chose the republican path, while Napoleon sank into despotism.

Flynn and Griffin show how leadership is shaped by the society that governs it, thus highlighting the differences between Washington and Napoleon. The authors demonstrate that the two were equally ambitious and that each chose paths to power reflecting their turbulent political times. In this fascinating book, the characters of these two great generals, statesmen, and icons emerge to show the divergence of their towering geniuses.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In Washington & Napoleon, Matthew Flynn and Stephen Griffin have written an excellent comparative analysis of two of history's most influential and fascinating characters. Their book is filled with thought-provoking insights into both men and their impact on history."

"A good and novel read based on a comparison of George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte, something that has to the best of my knowledge never previously been attempted. There were, as the authors point out, many similarities between the two, but in the end what shines forth is one basic truth: that Washington was a great man and Bonaparte wasn't."

"Flynn and Griffin have broken the historical silence. Their thought-provoking comparative study of Washington and Napoleon is a much needed contribution toward the study of these two colossal figures."

"...lively...Flynn and Griffin demonstrate why it is important to write about U.S. history in a global context...”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597972789
  • Publisher: Potomac Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/31/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Flynn is the author of First Strike: Preemptive War in Modern History (2008) and China Contested: Western Powers in East Asia (2006). He is an assistant professor at West Point.

Stephen Griffin is a writer and public historian. He lives in San Diego, where he teaches history in the community college system.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 Humble Beginnings: The Makings of a Gentleman 1

2 A Tried and Tested Formula: In Search of Decisive Victory 35

3 Leading by Default: The Chance to Wield Power 79

4 Enlightened Statesmanship: Winning the People's Favor 123

5 Good Intentions: Leading in the Age of the Enlightenment 173

6 Epilogue: A Similar End 193

A Note on Sources 199

Notes 213

Selected Bibliography 231

Index 245

About the Authors 253

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    If you care about America, you owe it to yourself to think about the founders!

    Overall its a great read. I never had any idea just how close America came to having a King. I think Washington would have placed the crown on his head if the Americans had asked him to. I always thought President Washington was this paragon of virtue, but when you put him next to a conqueror like Napoleon that's just not true. The American people decided the outcome of the American Revolution, not Washington. Very cool. Once I started, I just couldn't put it down until I saw how Napoleon would compare in each part of their lives. I highly recommend taking a look at this book.

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