Book Review Napoleon A Life

July 17, 2021 by Essay Writer


  • 1 Facts of Publication
  • 2 Reasons for Selecting the Book
  • 3 Short summary of its Contents
  • 4 3 Examples
  • 5 Historical Figures/Places/Episodes for World History
  • 6 Related Journal Article Describing the Book

Facts of Publication

Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts is a book published by Penguin publishers in 2014. The newly reprinted edition was published on October 20, 2015. The author presents a definitive biography of a great and powerful military leader known as Napoleon Bonaparte.

The book is reliable because the author is a historian and a visiting professor at Lehman Institute at New York and King’s College London. He has worthy knowledge of war and historical studies. He is also the best author of the book known as the Storm of War. Roberts is an exceptionally skilled author; thus, he presents a stimulating narrative of a political and military genius of the time.

Reasons for Selecting the Book

The rationale behind selecting this book is it provides the most valuable lessons in the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. It has a remarkable narrative that brilliantly conveys Napoleon as a pronounced leader. His rapport with soldiers in the military hierarchy was absolute and his capability to cap the image of power while at the same time shifting situation made him not only an incredible leader but also a great statesman too . His vigor shines and revolving visionary scheme into the politically powerful advocated major economic changes.

Moreover, the reason for selecting this book is due to the need to determine the way great leaders handled the crisis when most demanded. This biography adds richness and offers an image of failures, success, and reform in the wars he was a protagonist in. The life of Napoleon will inform young readers of how he rose rapidly into power through the military ranks during the French Revolution, seized political power and crowned himself as an emperor. In most cases, reading memoirs, biography or autobiography books offer valuable lessons on the way young generations can handle crisis or issues in their life.

Short summary of its Contents

“Napoleon: A Life” is an autobiography book that offers a chronological perspective into the life of the powerful military leader. It focuses on the life of Napoleon and his major failure, as well as accomplishments as a leader. It traces his life from as a youth in Corsica to his developing military career. It presents his first experiences as a military man on the battlefield and ascension to leadership roles in France. In fact, Napoleon is far much more than a statue and genius military leader. Just like Julius Caesar and other leaders of all time, Napoleon is among the greatest soldier-statesmen.

3 Examples

The author takes the reader through his major reforms across the political, economic and social arena. First, the political events during the time of Napoleon give an insight into the nature of French civilization. Napoleon made an attempt of imposing a continental system, a blockade on English commodities to damage an enemy when political antennas deserted him. He made an effort of forming an imperial outwit but this backfired. England continued to build an interminable coalition against France causing Napoleon to fail in the forthcoming Russian Campaign.

Secondly, Napoleon played significant contributions in the French Revolution. The French economy faced the major crisis during his time. However, he encouraged major financial aspects, such as property rights, low taxes and centralization of power, as well as national glory. The Napoleon war led to tremendous social upheaval in Europe but brought much economic prosperity. The impact of the French economy was of modest significance in the long-run. Nevertheless, the costly campaigns and loss of lives of millions of people, especially the Russian invasion that left thousands of French corpses, makes critics wonder if Napoleon was a true hero or villain. Roberts is reliable enough allowing the reader to make a conclusion as to whether Napoleon was an authoritarian leader or not. Fortunately, the author is an exceptionally talented writer capable of synthesizing diverse aspects of materials in clear and an elegant prose.

Lastly, Napoleon provided credentials throughout his career redefining the meaning of greatness. Analyzing this book can offer the insight that talent matters more than birth. For example, Napoleon did not depend on his status but rather the achievements. He worked tirelessly to impact the World economically, politically, and socially. However, the downfall of Napoleon was a result of the unforeseeable circumstances and mistakes that he made especially on the Russian invasion. His final defeat resulted from the failure to anticipate Russia’s genius ploy of destroying all the supply sources as the French retreated to their center.

Historical Figures/Places/Episodes for World History

One of the historical figures from that I gained prolific knowledge of is Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes is one of the greatest political English philosophers, a social contract theorist, who contributed to diverse aspects in different areas including history and theology among others. He is the first political scientist whose writings led to significant transformations in the Western World. In his book of Leviathan, 1651, Hobbes attempted to examine issues of war through people’s adaptation to such events. He observed the relationship between states and people. Unlike Napoleon who became a great military leader, Hobbes became a great philosopher who contributed a lot through his political writings. Nonetheless, his observations and the political world remain among the best reads in the government.

Related Journal Article Describing the Book

Duncan Kelly in his journal article Napoleon: A Life, by Andrew Roberts attempts to describe the author and offer a review about this book. It is a bestselling journal article posted on the New York Times and the first single volume that describes the life of the Napoleon. Roberts takes an advantage of the recent publications existing letters about Napoleon that radically changes the understanding of the society about his extraordinary leadership skills. According to Kelly, Roberts describes Napoleon as a passionate, inspired and visionary leader of the first modern state. Roberts has received many awards on history and has visited about six battle sites of Napoleon. Hence, he made significant discoveries about Napoleon in the historical archives across the globe.

Kelly gives an in-depth review on how Roberts brilliantly conveys the Napoleon and military whirlwind through an incessant questioning. The dynamism of Napoleon shines in the set-piece chapters of Roberts on major combats like Jena and Austerlitz, as well as turning the visionary military into political moments. Having arrived at the political view of his life, Napoleon was delighted to be among the elected leaders in the sophisticated organization that dealt with war-related issues. However, he first had to suppress most of the revolutionary wars in France before gaining state power. Thus, Robert’s Napoleon book is all about the statesman, military soldier and bona fide intellectual who become powerful in the politics of his time.

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