Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815
No military figure in history has been quite as polarizing as Napoleon Bonaparte. Was he a monster, driven by an endless, ruinous quest for military glory? Or a social and political visionary brought down by petty, reactionary kings of Europe? In the definitive account to date, res...more
Napoleon's Wars prevents a interestingly contrasting viewpoint to the last book I read that involved the Napoleonic Wars, War and Peace. For Tolstoy, history is a impersonal and indifferent force that selfishly dominates the determination of fate, leaving little room for the individual, even where the individual is a great leaders, leaving them to ride the wave of events with the ordinary mass of humanity. Esdaile's history doesn't directly refute this viewpoint. He doesn't believe that since on...more
Esdaile examines not just the actions each major power took during the period, but the options that were open to them at each juncture. By doing so he lays bare their motives and challenges popular assumptions about their conduct. He takes great care to avoid the liberal use of hindsig...more
A bit dry i...more
Nevertheless, this book is a great resource. Esdaile's scholarly work is painstakingly detailed about the ever-changing alliances between European countries during Napoleon's rein -- so ev...more
I made it! The most interesting character in this book is NOT, oddly enough, Napoleon--it's Alexander I of Russia. Now to choose a good (and not so lengthy) history of Russian emperors.....