Napoleon Volume 2
‘Surely will become the the definitive life of Napoleon.’ The Times
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‘Masterly.’ Daily Mail
‘Stunning.’ History Today
‘Magnificent.’ Literary Review
Napoleon’s life reached its most extraordinary stage between 1805 and 1810. At war with Britain, Russia, and Austria, he unleashed his magnificent Grande Armée. The first resounding victory at Austerlitz was followed by a whirlwind of campaigns, and by 1810 he had divorced Josephine in order to marry the daughter of the Austrian Emperor. The Spirit of the Age illustrates in vivid detail the five years in which Napoleon appeared to be invincible.
The scholarship is impressive, the narrative has the pace and panache appropriate to the subject and there is much that is new, particularly when Broers probes behind the glitzy façade of Bonaparte’s empire.
What one wants of a biography on this scale is the scholarship without the show, and that is just what Broers delivers . . . His business here is to understand Napoleon and not to judge . . . empathy, as in his first volume, never gets the better of his critical detachment. This is a biography to trust.
His accounts of Napoleonic battles are suffused with the characters and psychology of their chief protagonists. He evokes the brilliance of one, the flaws of the other, the bitterness of the slaughter, the apocalyptic aftermaths, the glory and the pity of war . . . There’s not a dull or relaxing moment, in fact. Such is the life of a monomaniac.
This biography does far more than trace the story of Napoleon's life. It shows a deep understanding of his ambition, of his incisive decision-making and capacity to recognise the abilities and failings of others . . . But what also comes through strongly in this volume is Broers’ gift for analysing military campaigns in a lively prose style that will attract the general reader as much as the military specialist.
Michael Broers’s book is probably the most important and accomplished account of the early years of Napoleon’s reign as emperor to be published in a century. It is the fruit of a lifetime of reflection . . . [Broers] is the perfect person to tackle this difficult subject. He has written an extremely rich, multidimensional and fresh work . . . a grippingly written, multilayered narrative. This is a truly magnificent book that deals masterfully with a pivotal movement in European history.
This is the second, stunning instalment of what will evidently constitute an outstanding three-volume biography of Napoleon, which explores the extraordinary feats of his central years in command . . . A brilliantly written narrative of campaigns and battles . . . Superb . . . The final volume of his gripping biography . . . is eagerly awaited.
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