Author(s): Philip Dwyer
'Napoleon's legend is so persistent that it confounds the historical reality in the popular imagination. He himself contributed much towards the construction of his own myth, from his youth even until after he fell from power, when, while in exile, he dictated his memoirs to a group of disciples who took down his every word in the hope that his version of history would prevail. Such were Napoleon's skills as a chronicler that much of the legend is still unquestioningly accepted...'
This second volume of Philip Dwyer's outstanding biography sheds further fresh light on one of the great figures of modern history. After a meteoric rise, a military-political coup in 1799 established Napoleon Bonaparte in government, aged just thirty. This meticulously researched study examines the man in power, from his brooding obsessions and capacity for violence, to his ability to inspire others and realise his visionary ideas. One of the first truly modern politicians, Napoleon skilfully fashioned the image of himself that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day; Philip Dwyer's ambitious, definitive work separates myth from history to offer us anew one of history's most charismatic and able leaders.
The second volume of a new and comprehensive biography about one of the history's most charismatic leaders
Five books about wars impressed me this year: Roger Knight's immaculately researched Britain against Napoleon: the Organisation of Victory 1793-1815; Philip Dwyer's Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power 1799-1815 which gives, in depth, the other side of that coin Simon Heffer, New Statesman Books of the Year The main purpose of the concluding volume of Dwyer's life of Napoleon is not to explain why he became such a revered general, but rather to unpick his complex character and asses his political and military achievements. He succeeds brilliantly and we are left with a nuanced portrait of a ruthless and far from infallible leader who concealed his defeats, exaggerated his victories and blamed other for his failings ... Philip Dwyer has produced a fitting sequel to his early life of Napoleon Bonaparte that will be hard to emulate. What it lacks in battlefield colour it more than makes up for by its subtle and judicious assessment of Napoleon the man and Napoleon the politician Literary Review He is very good on the tensions and rows ripping through the Bonaparte family, which was such an important element in the whole enterprise. Here, as everywhere, he produces nice detail and the telling anecdote ... a very fine book, which explains Napoleon's extraordinary rise to power and equally meteoric fall, with great erudition, skill and verve Adam Zamoyski, Spectator Exemplary scholarship ... A book of meticulous research and beautifully detailed descriptions of Napoleon's military adventures, brings home the full horrific cost of the march on Russia New Statesman
Philip Dwyer studied in Perth (Australia), Berlin and Paris, where he was a student of France's pre-eminent Napoleonic scholar, Jean Tulard. He has published widely on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, and is Director of the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, Australia.