Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny

Pegasus Books
Free sample

Written with great energy and authority—and using the newly available personal archives of Napoleon himself—the first volume of a majestic two-part biography of the great French emperor and conqueror. All previous lives of Napoleon have relied more on the memoirs of others than on his own uncensored words. This is the first life of Napoleon, in any language, that makes full use of his newly released personal correspondence compiled by the Napoléon Foundation in Paris. All previous lives of Napoleon have relied more on the memoirs of others than on his own uncensored words.

Michael Broers' biography draws on the thoughts of Napoleon himself as his incomparable life unfolded. It reveals a man of intense emotion, but also of iron self-discipline; of acute intelligence and immeasurable energy. Tracing his life from its dangerous Corsican roots, through his rejection of his early identity, and the dangerous military encounters of his early career, it tells the story of the sheer determination, ruthlessness, and careful calculation that won him the precarious mastery of Europe by 1807. After the epic battles of Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland, France was the dominant land power on the continent.

Here is the first biography of Napoleon in which this brilliant, violent leader is evoked to give the reader a full, dramatic, and all-encompassing portrait.
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About the author

Michael Broers is a professor of Western European history at Oxford University. He is the author of The Napoleonic Empire in Italy, winner of the Grand Prix Napoleon Prize, and Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny (Pegasus). He lives in Oxford, England.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pegasus Books
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Published on
Oct 15, 2015
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Pages
608
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ISBN
9781605988733
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Presidents & Heads of State
History / Europe / France
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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The first major biography of one of France's most mysterious women--Marie Antoinette's only child to survive the French revolution.

Susan Nagel, author of the critically acclaimed biography Mistress of the Elgin Marbles, turns her attention to the life of a remarkable woman who both defined and shaped an era, the tumultuous last days of the crumbling ancient régime. Nagel brings the formidable Marie-Thérèse to life, along with the age of revolution and the waning days of the aristocracy, in a page-turning biography that will appeal to fans of Antonia Fraser's Marie Antoinette and Amanda Foreman's Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire. In December 1795, at midnight on her seventeenth birthday, Marie-Thérèse, the only surviving child of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI, escaped from Paris's notorious Temple Prison. To this day many believe that the real Marie-Thérèse, traumatized following her family's brutal execution during the Reign of Terror, switched identities with an illegitimate half sister who was often mistaken for her twin. Was the real Marie-Thérèse spirited away to a remote castle to live her life as the woman called "the Dark Countess," while an imposter played her role on the political stage of Europe? Now, two hundred years later, using handwriting samples, DNA testing, and an undiscovered cache of Bourbon family letters, Nagel finally solves this mystery. She tells the remarkable story in full and draws a vivid portrait of an astonishing woman who both defined and shaped an era. Marie-Thérèse's deliberate choice of husbands determined the map of nineteenth-century Europe. Even Napoleon was in awe and called her "the only man in the family." Nagel's gripping narrative captures the events of her fascinating life from her very public birth in front of the rowdy crowds and her precocious childhood to her hideous time in prison and her later reincarnation in the public eye as a saint, and, above all, her fierce loyalty to France throughout.
Along with Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, and Francois Mitterand, Jacques Chirac is one of the most iconic statesmen of the twentieth century. Two-time president of France, mayor of Paris, and international politician, a recent poll voted him the most admired political figure in France, with current president Nicolas Sarkozy ranking in 32nd place. This memoir covers the full scope of Chirac's political career of more than 50 years and includes the last century's most significant events. A protégé of General de Gaulle, Chirac started political life after France's defeat in Algeria in the early 1960s. He then became Prime Minister George de Pompidou's "bulldozer" and a personal negotiator with Saddam Hussein for France's oil interests in the Persian Gulf. He sold Iraq its first nuclear reactor and incurred the wrath of the United States and Israel, which he discusses in striking detail. As mayor of Paris, Chirac was famed for his success in beautifying the City of Lights and keeping it whole during the heady days of the 1968 riots. As president in the 1990s and early 2000s, Chirac took controversial steps to privatize the economy and plan the European Union. Chirac seldom pulls punches and in several dramatic chapters describes his opposition to the US invasion of Iraq in 2002 and his personal meetings with George W. Bush. These landmark events are brought into sharp focus in this memoir that the popular French magazine Paris Match said "steals the show" even after its author decamped the presidential palace.
The second volume in this dynamic three-part life of Napoleon, covering the tumultuous years of 1805 to 1810—marking the zenith of Napoleon’s power and military might across Europe. The second volume of Michael Broers’ three volume life of Napoleon, covering the tumultuous years 1805 to 1810, a period which marks the zenith of Napoleon’s power and military success. Like volume one, it is based on the new version of Napoleon’s correspondence, made available by the Fondation Napoléon in Paris. It is the story of Napoleon’s conquest of Europe—and that of his magnificent Grande Armée— as they sweep through the length and breadth of Europe.

Spirit of the Age opens with Napoleon’s as yet untested army making its way through the Bavarian Alps in the early winter of 1805, to fall upon the unsuspecting Austrians and Russians, and crushing them at Austerlitz. This was only the beginning of series of spectacular victories: over the Prussians in 1806, and then the Russians, which brought the Tsar to defeat in 1807. It follows the army into Spain, in 1808, most ill-considered step in his career as ruler, and then through the most daunting triumph of all, the final defeat of Austria at Wagram, in 1809, the bloodiest battle in European history up to that time.

These five years encompass the dramas of Napoleon’s separation from Josephine amid the turmoil of ruling a pan-European empire. These years also saw Napoleon navigate plots against him, his clash with the Pope and excommunication, and his loss of trust in many of those closest to him. It closes with his marriage to Marie-Louise, the daughter of his defeated enemy, the Emperor of Austria. With the greatest "trophy bride” in history on his arm, Napoleon now turns again to face his only remaining enemy, Britain, and the challenge of ruling an empire that now spans the entirety of Europe.
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