A Life


By Adam Zamoyski

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The definitive biography of Napoleon — hailed as “magnificent” by The Economist.

“What a novel my life has been!” Napoleon once said of himself. Born into a poor family, the callow young man was, by twenty-six, an army general. Seduced by an older woman, his marriage transformed him into a galvanizing military commander. The Pope crowned him as Emperor of the French when he was only thirty-five. Within a few years, he became the effective master of Europe, his power unparalleled in modern history. His downfall was no less dramatic.

The story of Napoleon has been written many times. In some versions, he is a military genius, in others a war-obsessed tyrant. Here, historian Adam Zamoyski cuts through the mythology and explains Napoleon against the background of the European Enlightenment, and what he was himself seeking to achieve. This most famous of men is also the most hidden of men, and Zamoyski dives deeper than any previous biographer to find him. Beautifully written, Napoleon brilliantly sets the man in his European context.



Europe in 1792


The Italian Theatre



The Pursuit


Würmser Outmanoeuvred



The March on Vienna

The Settlement of Campo Formio


Europe in 1800




The Campaigns of 1806–7

Europe in 1808



Europe in 1812

The Invasion of Russia


The Berezina

The Saxon Campaign 1813

The Defence of France 1814

The Waterloo Campaign 1815


A POLISH HOME, English schools, and holidays with French cousins exposed me from an early age to violently conflicting visions of Napoleon—as godlike genius, Romantic avatar, evil monster, or just nasty little dictator. In this crossfire of fantasy and prejudice I developed an empathy with each of these views without being able to agree with any of them.

Napoleon was a man, and while I understand how others have done, I can see nothing superhuman about him. Although he did exhibit some extraordinary qualities, he was in many ways a very ordinary man. I find it difficult to credit genius to someone who, for all his many triumphs, presided over the worst (and entirely self-inflicted) disaster in military history and single-handedly destroyed the great enterprise he and others had toiled so hard to construct. He was undoubtedly a brilliant tactician, as one would expect of a clever operator from a small-town background. But he was no strategist, as his miserable end attests.

Nor was Napoleon an evil monster. He could be as selfish and violent as the next man, but there is no evidence of him wishing to inflict suffering gratuitously. His motives were on the whole praiseworthy, and his ambition no greater than that of contemporaries such as Alexander I of Russia, Wellington, Nelson, Metternich, Blücher, Bernadotte, and many more. What made his ambition so exceptional was the scope it was accorded by circumstance.

On hearing the news of his death, the Austrian dramatist Franz Grillparzer wrote a poem on the subject. He had been a student in Vienna when Napoleon bombarded the city in 1809, so he had no reason to like him, but in the poem he admits that while he cannot love him, he cannot bring himself to hate him; according to Grillparzer, Napoleon was but the visible symptom of the sickness of the times, and as such bore the blame for the sins of all. There is much truth in this view.1

In the half-century before Napoleon came to power, a titanic struggle for dominion saw the British acquire Canada, large swathes of India, and a string of colonies and aspire to lay down the law at sea; Austria grab provinces in Italy and Poland; Prussia increase in size by two-thirds; and Russia push her frontier 600 kilometres into Europe and occupy large areas of Central Asia, Siberia, and Alaska, laying claims as far afield as California. Yet George III, Maria Theresa, Frederick William II, and Catherine II are not generally accused of being megalomaniac monsters and compulsive warmongers.

Napoleon is frequently condemned for his invasion of Egypt, while the British occupation which followed, designed to guarantee colonial monopoly over India, is not. He is regularly blamed for re-establishing slavery in Martinique, while Britain applied it in its colonies for a further thirty years, and every other colonial power for several decades after that. His use of police surveillance and censorship is also regularly reproved, even though every other state in Europe emulated him, with varying degrees of discretion or hypocrisy.

The tone was set by the victors of 1815, who arrogated the role of defenders of a supposedly righteous social order against evil, and writing on Napoleon has been bedevilled ever since by a moral dimension, which has entailed an imperative to slander or glorify. Beginning with Stendhal, who claimed he could only write of Napoleon in religious terms, and no doubt inspired by Goethe, who saw his life as ‘that of a demi-god’, French and other European historians have struggled to keep the numinous out of their work, and even today it is tinged by a sense of awe. Until very recently, Anglo-Saxon historians have shown reluctance to allow an understanding of the spirit of the times to help them see Napoleon as anything other than an alien monster. Rival national mythologies have added layers of prejudice which many find hard to overcome.2

Napoleon was in every sense the product of his times; he was in many ways the embodiment of his epoch. If one wishes to gain an understanding of him and what he was about, one has to place him in context. This requires ruthless jettisoning of received opinion and nationalist prejudice and dispassionate examination of what the seismic conditions of his times threatened and offered.

In the 1790s Napoleon entered a world at war, and one in which the very basis of human society was being questioned. It was a struggle for supremacy and survival in which every state on the Continent acted out of self-interest, breaking treaties and betraying allies shamelessly. Monarchs, statesmen, and commanders on all sides displayed similar levels of fearful aggression, greed, callousness, and brutality. To ascribe to any of the states involved a morally superior role is ahistorical humbug, and to condemn the lust for power is to deny human nature and political necessity.

For Aristotle power was, along with wealth and friendship, one of the essential components of individual happiness. For Hobbes, the urge to acquire it was not only innate but beneficent, as it led men to dominate and therefore organise communities, and no social organisation of any form could exist without the power of one or more individuals to order others.

Napoleon did not start the war that broke out in 1792 when he was a mere lieutenant and continued, with one brief interruption, until 1814. Which side was responsible for the outbreak and for the continuing hostilities is fruitlessly debatable, since responsibility cannot be laid squarely on one side or the other. The fighting cost lives, for which responsibility is often heaped on Napoleon, which is absurd, as all the belligerents must share the blame. And he was not as profligate with the lives of his own soldiers as some.

French losses in the seven years of revolutionary government (1792–99) are estimated at four to five hundred thousand; those during the fifteen years of Napoleon’s rule are estimated at just under twice as high, at eight to nine hundred thousand. Given that these figures include not only dead, wounded, and sick but also those reported as missing, whose numbers went up dramatically as his ventures took the armies further afield, it is clear that battle losses were lower under Napoleon than during the revolutionary period—despite the increasing use of heavy artillery and the greater size of the armies. The majority of those classed as missing were deserters who either drifted back home or settled in other countries. This is not to diminish the suffering or the trauma of the war, but to put it in perspective.3

MY AIM IN THIS BOOK is not to justify or condemn, but to piece together the life of the man born Napoleone Buonaparte, and to examine how he became ‘Napoleon’ and achieved what he did, and how it came about that he undid it.

In order to do so I have concentrated on verifiable primary sources, treating with caution the memoirs of those such as Bourrienne, Fouché, Barras, and others who wrote principally to justify themselves or to tailor their own image, and have avoided using as evidence those of the duchesse d’Abrantès, which were written years after the events by her lover, the novelist Balzac. I also ignore the various anecdotes regarding Napoleon’s birth and childhood, believing that it is immaterial as well as unprovable that he cried or not when he was born, that he liked playing with swords and drums as a child, had a childhood crush on some little girl, or that a comet was sighted at his birth and death. There are quite enough solid facts to deal with.

I have devoted more space in relative terms to Napoleon’s formative years than to his time in power, as I believe they hold the key to understanding his extraordinary trajectory. As I consider the military aspects only insofar as they produced an effect, on him and his career or the international situation, the reader will find my coverage very uneven. I give prominence to the first Italian campaign because it demonstrates the ways in which Napoleon was superior to his enemies and colleagues, and because it turned him into an exceptional being, in both his own eyes and those of others. Subsequent battles are of interest primarily for the use he made of them, while the Russian campaign is seminal to his decline and reveals the confusion in his mind which led to his political suicide. To those who would like to learn more about the battles, I would recommend Andrew Roberts’s masterful Napoleon the Great. The battle maps in the text are similarly spare and do not pretend to accuracy; they are designed to illustrate the essence of the action.

The subject is so vast that anyone attempting a life of Napoleon must necessarily rely on the work of many who have trawled through archives and on published sources. I feel hugely indebted to all those involved in the Fondation Napoléon’s new edition of Napoleon’s correspondence. I also owe a great deal to the work done over the past two decades by French historians in debunking the myths that have gained the status of truth and excising the carbuncles that have overgrown the verifiable facts during the past two centuries. Thierry Lentz and Jean Tulard stand out in this respect, but Pierre Branda, Jean Defranceschi, Patrice Gueniffey, Annie Jourdan, Aurélien Lignereux, and Michel Vergé-Franceschi have also helped to blow away cobwebs and enlighten. Among Anglo-Saxon historians, Philip Dwyer has my gratitude for his brilliant work on Napoleon as propagandist, and Munro Price for his invaluable archival research on the last phase of his reign. The work of Michael Broers and Steven Englund is also noteworthy.

I owe a debt of thanks to Olivier Varlan for bibliographic guidance, and particularly for having let me see Caulaincourt’s manuscript on the Prussian and Russian campaigns of 1806–07; to Vincenz Hoppe for seeking out sources in Germany; to Hubert Czyżewski for assisting me in unearthing obscure sources in Polish libraries; to Laetitia Oppenheim for doing the same for me in France; to Carlo De Luca for alerting me to the existence of the diary of Giuseppe Mallardi; and to Angelika von Hase for helping me with German sources. I also owe thanks to Shervie Price for reading the typescript, and to the incomparable Robert Lacey for his sensitive editing.

Although at times I felt like cursing him, I would like to thank Detlef Felken for his implicit faith in suggesting I write this book, and Clare Alexander and Arabella Pike for their support. Finally, I must thank my wife, Emma, for putting up with me and encouraging me throughout what has been a challenging task.

Adam Zamoyski


A Reluctant Messiah

AT NOON ON 10 December 1797 a thunderous discharge from a battery of guns echoed across Paris, opening yet another of the many grandiose festivals for which the French Revolution was so notable.

Although the day was cold and grey, crowds had been gathering around the Luxembourg Palace, the seat of the Executive Directory which governed France, and according to the Prussian diplomat Daniel von Sandoz-Rollin, ‘never had the cheering sounded more enthusiastic’. People lined the streets leading up to the palace in the hope of catching a glimpse of the hero of the day. But his reticence defeated them. At around ten o’clock that morning he had left his modest house on the rue Chantereine with one of the Directors who had come to fetch him in a cab. As it trundled through the streets, followed by several officers on horseback, he sat well back, seeming in the words of one English witness ‘to shrink from those acclamations which were then the voluntary offering of the heart’.1

They were indeed heartfelt. The people of France were tired after eight years of revolution and political struggle marked by violent lurches to the right or the left. They were sick of the war which had lasted for more than five years and which the Directory seemed unable to end. The man they were cheering, a twenty-eight-year-old general by the name of Bonaparte, had won a string of victories in Italy against France’s principal enemy, Austria, and forced her emperor to come to terms. The relief felt at the prospect of peace and the political stability it was hoped would ensue was accompanied by a subliminal sense of deliverance.

The Revolution which began in 1789 had unleashed boundless hopes of a new era in human affairs. These had been whipped up and manipulated by successive political leaders in a self-perpetuating power struggle, and people longed for someone who could put an end to it. They had read the bulletins recounting this general’s deeds and his proclamations to the people of Italy, which contrasted sharply with the utterances of those ruling France. Many believed, or just hoped, that the longed-for man had come. The sense of exaltation engendered by the Revolution had been kept alive by overblown festivals, and this one was, according to one witness, as ‘magnifique’ as any.2

The great court of the Luxembourg Palace had been transformed for the occasion. A dais had been erected opposite the entrance, on which stood the indispensable ‘altar of the fatherland’ surmounted by three statues, representing Liberty, Equality, and Peace. These were flanked by panoplies of enemy standards captured during the recent campaign, beneath which were placed seats for the five members of the Directory, one for its secretary-general, and more below them for the ministers. Beneath were places for the diplomatic corps, and to either side stretched a great amphitheatre for the members of the two legislative chambers and for the 1,200-strong choir of the conservatoire. The courtyard was decked with tricolour flags and covered by an awning, turning it into a monumental tent.3

As the last echoes of the gun salute died away, the Directors emerged from a chamber in the depths of the palace, dressed in their ‘grand costume’. Designed by the painter Jacques-Louis David, this consisted of a blue velvet tunic heavily embroidered with gold thread and girded with a gold-tasselled white silk sash, white breeches and stockings, and shoes with blue bows. It was given a supposedly classical look by a voluminous red cloak with a white lace collar, a ‘Roman’ sword on a richly embroidered baldric, and a black felt hat adorned by a blue-white-red tricolour of three ostrich feathers.

The Directors took their place at the end of a cortège led by the commissioners of police, followed by magistrates, civil servants, the judiciary, teachers, members of the Institute of Arts and Sciences, officers, officials, the diplomatic representatives of foreign powers, and the ministers of the Directory. It was preceded by a band playing ‘the airs beloved of the French Republic’.4

The cortège snaked its way through the corridors of the palace and out into the courtyard, the various bodies taking their appointed seats. The members of the legislative chambers had already taken theirs. They wore costumes similar to that of the Directors, the ‘Roman’ look in their case sitting uneasily with their four-cornered caps, which were David’s homage to the heroes of the Polish revolution of 1794.

Having taken their seats, the Directors despatched an official to usher in the principal actors of the day’s festivities. The airs beloved of the French Republic had been superseded by a symphony performed by the orchestra of the Conservatoire, but this was rudely interrupted by shouts of ‘Vive Bonaparte!’, ‘Vive la Nation!’, ‘Vive le libérateur de l’Italie!’, and ‘Vive le pacificateur du continent!’ as a group of men entered the courtyard.

First came the ministers of war and foreign relations in their black ceremonial costumes. They were followed by a diminutive, gaunt figure in uniform, his lank hair dressed in the already unfashionable ‘dog’s ears’ flopping on either side of his face. His gauche movements ‘charmed every heart’, according to one onlooker. He was accompanied by three aides-de-camp, ‘all taller than him, but almost bowed by the respect they showed him’. There was a religious silence as the group entered the courtyard. Everyone present stood and removed their hats. Then the cheering broke out again. ‘The present elite of France applauded the victorious general, for he was the hope of everyone: republicans, royalists, all saw their present and future salvation in the support of his powerful arm.’ The dazzling military victories and diplomatic triumph he had achieved contrasted so strikingly with his puny stature, dishevelled appearance, and unassuming manner that it was difficult not to believe he was inspired and guided by some higher power. The philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt was so impressed when he saw him, he thought he was contemplating an ideal of modern humanity.5

When the group reached the foot of the altar of the fatherland, the orchestra and choir of the Conservatoire struck up a ‘Hymn to Liberty’ composed by François-Joseph Gossec to the tune of the Catholic Eucharistic hymn O Salutaris Hostia, and the crowd joined in an emotionally charged rendition of what the official account of the proceedings described as ‘this religious couplet’. The Directors and assembled dignitaries took their seats, with the exception of the general himself. ‘I saw him decline placing himself in the chair of state which had been prepared for him, and seem as if he wished to escape from the general bursts of applause,’ recalled the English lady, who was full of admiration for the ‘modesty in his demeanour’. He had in fact requested that the ceremony be cancelled when he heard what was in store. But there was no escape.6

The Republic’s minister for foreign relations, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, limped forward in his orthopaedic shoe, his ceremonial sword and the plumes in his hat performing curious motions as he went. The President of the Directory had chosen him rather than the minister of war to present the reluctant hero. ‘It is not the general, it is the peacemaker, and above all the citizen that you must single out to praise here,’ he had written to Talleyrand. ‘My colleagues are terrified, not without reason, of military glory.’ This was true.7

‘No government has ever been so universally despised,’ an informant in France had written to his masters in Vienna only a couple of weeks before, assuring them that the first general with the courage to raise the standard of revolt would have half of the nation behind him. Many in Paris, at both ends of the political spectrum, were expecting General Bonaparte to make such a move, and in the words of one observer, ‘everyone seemed to be watching each other’. According to another, there were many present who would happily have strangled him.8

The forty-three-year-old ex-aristocrat and former bishop Talleyrand knew all this. He was used to shrouding his feelings with an impassive countenance, but his upturned nose and thin lips, curling up on the left-hand side in a way suggesting wry amusement, were well fitted to the speech he now delivered.

‘Citizen Directors,’ he began, ‘I have the honour to present to the executive Directory citizen Bonaparte, who comes bearing the ratification of the treaty of peace concluded with the emperor.’ While reminding those present that the peace was only the crowning glory of ‘innumerable marvels’ on the battlefield, he reassured the shrinking general that he would not dwell on his military achievements, leaving that to posterity, secure in the knowledge that the hero himself viewed them not as his own, but as those of France and the Revolution. ‘Thus, all Frenchmen have been victorious through Bonaparte; thus his glory is the property of all; thus there is no republican who cannot claim his part of it.’ The general’s extraordinary talents, which Talleyrand briefly ran through, were, he admitted, innate to him, but they were also in large measure the fruit of his ‘insatiable love of the fatherland and of humanity’. But it was his modesty, the fact that he seemed to ‘apologise for his own glory’, his extraordinary taste for simplicity, worthy of the heroes of classical antiquity, his love of the abstract sciences, his literary passion for ‘that sublime Ossian’ and ‘his profound contempt for show, luxury, ostentation, those paltry ambitions of common souls’ that were so striking, indeed alarming: ‘Oh! far from fearing what some would call his ambition, I feel that we will one day have to beg him to give up the comforts of his studious retreat.’ The general’s countless civic virtues were almost a burden to him: ‘All France will be free: it may be that he will never be, that is his destiny.’9

When the minister had concluded, the victim of destiny presented the ratified copy of the peace treaty to the Directors, and then addressed the assembly ‘with a kind of feigned nonchalance, as though he were trying to intimate that he little liked the regime under which he was called to serve’, in the words of one observer. According to another, he spoke ‘like a man who knows his worth’.10

In a few clipped sentences, delivered in an atrocious foreign accent, he attributed his victories to the French nation, which through the Revolution had abolished eighteen centuries of bigotry and tyranny, established representative government, and roused the other two great nations of Europe, the Germans and Italians, enabling them to embrace the ‘spirit of liberty’. He concluded, somewhat bluntly, that the whole of Europe would be truly free and at peace ‘when the happiness of the French people will be based on the best organic laws’.11

The response of the Directory to this equivocal statement was delivered by its president, Paul François Barras, a forty-two-year-old minor nobleman from Provence with a fine figure and what one contemporary described as the swagger of a fencing-master. He began with the usual flowery glorification of ‘the sublime revolution of the French nation’ before moving on to vaporous praise of the ‘peacemaker of the continent’, whom he likened to Socrates and hailed as the liberator of the people of Italy. General Bonaparte had rivalled Caesar, but unlike other victorious generals, he was a man of peace: ‘at the first word of a proposal of peace, you halted your triumphant progress, you laid down the sword with which the fatherland had armed you, and preferred to take up the olive branch of peace!’ Bonaparte was living proof ‘that one can give up the pursuit of victory without relinquishing greatness’.12

The address meandered off into a diatribe against those ‘vile Carthaginians’ (the British) who were the last obstacle standing in the way of a general peace which the new Rome (France) was striving to bestow on the Continent. Barras concluded by exhorting the general, ‘the liberator to whom outraged humanity calls out with plaintive appeals’, to lead an army across the Channel, whose waters would be proud to carry him and his men: ‘As soon as the tricolour standard is unfurled on its bloodied shores, a unanimous cry of benediction will greet your presence; and, seeing the dawn of approaching happiness, that generous nation will hail you as liberators who come not to fight and enslave it, but to put an end to its sufferings.’13

Barras then stepped forward with extended arms and in the name of the French nation embraced the general in a ‘fraternal accolade’. The other Directors did likewise, followed by the ministers and other dignitaries, after which the general was allowed to step down from the altar of the fatherland and take his seat. The choir intoned a hymn to peace written for the occasion by the revolutionary bard Marie-Joseph Chénier, set to music by Étienne Méhul.

The minister for war, General Barthélémy Scherer, a forty-nine-year-old veteran of several campaigns, then presented to the Directory two of Bonaparte’s aides bearing a huge white standard on which the triumphs of the Army of Italy were embroidered in gold thread. These included the capture of 150,000 prisoners, 170 flags, and over a thousand pieces of artillery, as well as some fifty ships; the conclusion of a number of armistices and treaties with various Italian states; the liberation of the people of most of northern Italy; and the acquisition for France of masterpieces by Michelangelo, Guercino, Titian, Veronese, Correggio, Caracci, Raphael, and da Vinci and other works of art. Scherer praised the soldiers of the Army of Italy and particularly their commander, who had ‘married the audacity of Achilles to the wisdom of Nestor’.14

The guns thundered as Barras received the standard from the hands of the two officers, and in another interminable address, he returned to his anti-British theme. ‘May the palace of St. James crumble! The Fatherland wishes it, humanity demands it, vengeance commands it.’ After the two warriors had received the ‘fraternal accolade’ of the Directors and ministers, the ceremony closed with a rendition of the rousing revolutionary war hymn Le Chant du Départ, following which the Directors exited as they had come, and Bonaparte left, cheered by the multitude gathered outside, greatly relieved that it was all over.15

For all his apparent nonchalance, he had been treading warily throughout. The Directory had not welcomed the coming of peace. The war had paid for its armies and bolstered its finances, while the victories had deflected criticism of its domestic shortcomings. More important, war kept the army occupied and ambitious generals away from Paris. This peace had been made by Bonaparte in total disregard of the Directory’s instructions, and it was no secret that the Directors had been furious when they were presented with the draft treaty. A few days after receiving it, they had nominated Bonaparte commander of the Army of England, not because they believed in the possibility of a successful invasion, but because they wanted him away from Paris and committed to a venture which would surely undermine his reputation. Their principal preoccupation now was to get him away from Paris, where he was a natural focus for their enemies.16


  • "It is the outstanding merit of Adam Zamoyski's fine new biography, Napoleon: A Life, that he insists on treating his subject as neither a superman nor a monster, but as a creature of his troubled age...Zamoyski gives us...a vivid sense of Napoleon as a protean chancer, outwardly self-confident as any man who ever lived, inwardly always wondering when his 'star' would finally set."—New York Review of Books
  • "Zamoyski...attempts to cut through the fantasy and retrospective exaggeration to tell the story of an extraordinary, but certainly not superhuman life.... Napoleon emerges from Mr. Zamoyski's book a willful, self-made opportunist...gifted, energetic, brave, lucky, but also a bit ridiculous."—Wall Street Journal
  • "Magnificent...Napoleon was neither demon nor deity. He was a man, with great talents and great flaws, often intertwined...[Mr. Zamoyski] writes beautifully."—Economist
  • "Zamoyski tells the personal side of Napoleon's life...his hopes, his dreams, his self-doubts."—New York Journal of Books
  • "Zamoyski's book is one of the finest biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte ever written."—MHQ: Quarterly Journal of Military History
  • "A lifetime's diligent research and profound thinking about Napoleon and his times has gone into this hugely readable, highly enjoyable and well-balanced biography. Zamoyski is at the top of his game as a biographer."—Andrew Roberts, Visiting Professor, Department of War Studies, King's College, London
  • "A biography of Napoleon Bonaparte that avoids the well-established military details and gives us the story of a singular man...Illuminating."—Kirkus
  • "Engaging and highly readable.... An inclusive life of a historical dynamo."—Washington Times
  • "Adam Zamoyski's 700-plus-page but very readable Napoleon: A Life...shows how France's tired post-revolutionary leaders in 1796 recognized they were riding a tiger---but didn't expect him to eat them."—World Magazine
  • "A superb history of a complicated man and time."—Choice
  • A success in all respects, rivaling Andrew Roberts's Napoleon: A Life in astuteness and thoroughness.... The picture that emerges is of an extraordinarily gifted leader who increasingly sought short-term gain at the expense of long-term stability.... Exhaustively researched and engagingly written."—Library Journal, starred review
  • "Napoleon is an out and out masterpiece and a joy to read."—Sir Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege
  • "Always elegant in style and original in analysis. Zamoyski, a master of the sources and of the culture and politics that created his subject, produces a fresh, nuanced, beautifully written, gripping, and outstanding biography of Napoleon that reveals him to be a triumph of luck and accident as much as the invincible genius of the legend."—Simon Sebag-Montefiore, author of The Romanovs and Jerusalem: the Biography
  • "Adam Zamoyski has retold a story that we thought we knew and made it fresh: Stripping away two centuries of mythology, discarding the apocryphal stories and legends, he finally brings us the real Napoleon."—Anne Applebaum, author of Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine
  • "Zamoyski sticks close to verifiable primary sources...What we get is more a historical Napoleon than the colossus of cultural memory, but a figure no less fascinating for that. Napoleon's life was a rollercoaster and Zamoyski takes us along for the ride."—Toronto Star
  • "A masterful historian, Zamoyski fulfills his task eloquently. Napoleon is often called a military and political genius, but in reading Zamoyski, the question arises: how much of Napoleon's perceived greatness was timing and circumstance in the stormy political world of 18th-century revolutionary France?"—Winnipeg Free Press

On Sale
Oct 16, 2018
Page Count
784 pages
Basic Books

Adam Zamoyski

About the Author

Adam Zamoyski is the author of numerous books about Polish and European history, and has written for publications including the Times (London), the Times Literary Supplement, and the Guardian. He lives in London and Poland.

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