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A Life

The definitive biography of Napoleon, revealing the true man behind the legend

“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.

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Genre: Nonfiction / History / Military / Napoleonic Wars

On Sale: October 16th 2018

Price: $19.99 / $24.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 784

ISBN-13: 9781541644557

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


"Zamoyski tells the personal side of Napoleon's life...his hopes, his dreams, his self-doubts."—New York Journal of Books
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"Zamoyski's book is one of the finest biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte ever written."—MHQ: Quarterly Journal of Military History
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"Napoleon is an out and out masterpiece and a joy to read."—Sir Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege
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"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
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"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
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"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
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"A biography of Napoleon Bonaparte that avoids the well-established military details and gives us the story of a singular man...Illuminating."—Kirkus
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