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Napoleon: The Path to Power (Napoleon #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  163 ratings  ·  24 reviews
At just thirty years of age, Napoleon Bonaparte ruled the most powerful country in Europe. But the journey that led him there was neither inevitable nor smooth. This authoritative biography focuses on the evolution of Napoleon as a leader and debunks many of the myths that are often repeated about him—sensational myths often propagated by Napoleon himself. Here, Philip Dwy ...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Yale University Press (first published June 4th 2007)
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(showing 1-30 of 435)
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James
Napoleon's life has been written about countless times and any contemporary biographer intending to recapitulate such a well-known and heavily mined subject-matter surely has to have a provocative theme or grandiose construction in mind to justify the undertaking. I failed to discover any such novelty in Dwyer's account beyond his stated thesis of unearthing the reasons for the Napoleonic myth, at best a secondary theme. Very little in the way of a nuanced portrayal is offered. And criticism of ...more
Patrick Oden
Although a history major in college I have studied very little of Napoleon or the time and places of his greatest influence. Thus I come to Dwyer's book with a love for history but without a critical background of prior Napoleon research. Therefore I must asses this book by the tools of history and by my own opinions as a reader of history books, rather than by assessing Dwyer's overall worth for Napoleon studies.

What I look for in a history book are the kinds of sources, the use of sources, th
...more
Matt
There is no such thing as the last book on a subject. If there was, we wouldn't have a million books on Abraham Lincoln. When you have a historical figure, such as Lincoln or Napoleon, it seems that every generation wants to take a crack at figuring out that man's essence. But there comes a point when you really can't say anything new. That's just reality, since man's life is finite. When that point is reached, the only thing an author can do, really, is take the collected wisdom of hundreds of ...more
Daniel
Before reading this book, I had no idea how little I knew about Napoleon Bonaparte. As such, I found Philip Dwyer's study of Napoleon's rise to power wholly fascinating. The man that emerges from these biographical pages is just that, a man. Dwyer does a wonderful job of separating the man from the myth, and I was surprised at just how human the Little General was in his youth and young adulthood. A competent military strategist, Napoleon's true genius is revealed by his unprecedented use of the ...more
Louise
Most historians have to chose between writing a readable narrative or one that will be heavily documented. Dwyer doean't have this problem His writing is able straddle both styles. He has created a readable, heavily documented history of Napoleon's rise to power. I don't know the literature of this period, but the book has the feel that it is definitive to date.

While the text is not on the page turning level of "Alexander Hamilton, The Most Famous Man in America:, "The Biography of Henry Ward Be
...more
Rich
One of the best, recent biographies of Napoleon. Dwyer has crafted a thoroughly researched yet fascinating account of Napoleon's life up to his seizure of power in 1799. Dwyer convincingly makes the case that Napoleon shrewdly and consciously invented and reinvented an image for himself that has survived to this day. Dwyer attempts, as much as possible, to peel away the layers of that persistent myth and reveal the man beneath.
Becky
Feb 11, 2009 Becky rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Napoleon fanatics
Shelves: non-fiction
A mostly well-written book about Napoleon's rise to power. It goes into a little too much detail, however; plodding through 500 pages covering the first 30 years of his life was a bit much.
bazra bat
Reading was stressful. All my curiosity reading disappeared from the very first chapter. Too much concentrated on the background of napoleons, which was too boring. And there were very lack information regarding to napoleon himself. In this book there is no something that will intrigue you to read, like other interesting books does. It seemed to me like i was reading long, and boring dissertation. From the middle i lost the main idea, main pattern and gave up reading this book. Maybe Historians, ...more
Vicki
There is so much left to chance in life, but it always pays to be prepared for an unthinkable...
Well written and well presented. Joy to read.

Linconter
This is probably the first biography I've read where the author was so brutally honest about the character that he seemed to actually dislike the man. But he was scrupulously fair about bringing out both sides of what was happening - reporting Napoleon's accounts and at the same time accounts by other people involved that gave the opposite side of the story. Napoleon really did have a "particularly modern approach to politics" in the best Rovebusian style, never shying away from completely fabri ...more
Lauren
Jun 13, 2014 Lauren is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Why did I get myself into this
LOL_BOOKS
AKA HOW TO BECOME A BADASS
Matthew Griffiths
An enjoyable account of Bonaparte's rise from an obscurity to one of the central figures of French history. This book handled very well Bonaparte's careful management of his public image to create a certain impression of himself as a true republican and it also discussed his performance as a general which contrary to popular belief was not as irresistible as generally accepted history tells us.
Dale
An excellent read. It's a bit daunting, very well-researched and extremely detailed, and it's a large book - but if you would really like to understand both the rise of Napoleon (if you thought "spin" started with contemporary politics, you're very much mistaken) and the political intrigues of the French revolution, this is the book for you.
Roger
This book took longer to read than expected. Filled with lots of details of Napoleon's early life and his rise to power. Found I needed to read about 10-15 pages and then but the book down. Needed a better backgroud of French history especially the pre revolution and revolutionary years.
Chet
The first 30 years of an amazing life. this book filled in a vast gap in my understanding of the history of France, the revolution, and Europe in the years leading up to 1800. If you want to know how Sara Palin can take over, just read this.
Andrew Beedie
Stripped away some of the aura of Napoleon even though he was a military genius (30 years old and head of the most powerful country on earth) , knew how to use the media ( pamphlets , newspapers and engravings )
Mellplex
The writing was smooth enough to easily follow along, but a bit dry and lackluster considering the scope and topic being covered. It's Napoleon for crying out loud!
Debbie Windley
This has been a great introduction to napoleon. Its an entertaining well researched book which gives a really good sense of the how Napoleon rose to power.
Lauren Albert
This dragged for me. It's hard to know if it was just the level of detail or if it didn't cohere as a narrative. It was certainly thorough.
Taylor Kniphfer
A very good biography of that great man, Napoleon. Can't wait for Dwyer's second instalment in his biography of Napoleon
Cat
Really good- fun to read. He was in charge of france at the age of 30, you know?
GT
For Kindle. I am starting to warm to the thing.
Sophy Jones
The world yields to a demanding person!
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