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3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  187 ratings  ·  16 reviews
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Published October 1st 1966 by Signet (first published 1963)
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JoséMaría BlancoWhite
This little 1963 book of about 250 pages of tightly pressed print gives a more than sufficient first overlook at this man's life and era. It covers, I believe, all the facets of his life, from family man, through lover, to war titan, politician and emperor. From his Corsican cultural inheritance to his Saint Helen exile and even the immediate post-Napoleonic times. The story is not entangled as one might expect from having so much to tell about in so reduced a space, but it is lively and amazing...more
May 25, 2007 Kurt rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history and military buffs
Markham's book is dated (1963), but it is still a very good work in that it allows the non-historian to access Napoleon's military and political genius in a relatively short (300 pp) treatment. What you'll learn about Napoleon from Markham: 1) his concern for not offending the Muslims in Egypt in 1799 when he invaded to challenge the British and Admiral Nelson (much like General Petreus today in Iraq); 2) Napoleon arrested Pope Pius VII since he was sour on Napoleon's divorce from Josephine (sou...more
Felix Markham wrote: "It would be futile to attempt a summing-up or a verdict on Napoleon as a man or as an historical phenomenon. It is better to try to let the facts speak for themselves..." (p. 265) Evidently, this is what he strove to do. First published in 1963, Markham's "Napoleon" made a splash as the first full biography of Napoleon to make use of (then) newly available primary sources: letters written to Napoleon by his second wife, the Empress Marie-Louise, discovered and published in...more
Marius Pontmercy
I found this a very interesting book, filled with information and facts. Still, it is not for "beginners" in Napoleonic history. There are just too many facts, events and names that will not ring any bells unless for people having a relatively high understanding and knowledge of the time period.

I would recommend it to those who are truly interested in Napoleon, but I would not recommend this to people that have just a slight interest in things.

Remarkably, the part that I will remember best from...more
A very good biography. Markham writes well, and his book does a good job of fitting Napoleon into his time. Unlike so many treatments, this book is neither a hagiography nor a hatchet job; Markham is objective throughout. I actually thought the book was best in describing Napoleon after his April 1814 abdication, and the account of his treatment on St. Helena is moving.
I don't care much for military history, and I still don't. Despite most of the book being military stuff, I read through it and appreciated more of the historical analysis and comprehension of his character. To me he was lustful and ignorant. He wanted victory, and wanted more and more after that. He did not know when, or even how, to stop and rule what he had.
Steven Patrick
Markham masters the art of history written in a style no longer popular. Interesting anecdotes, fun details and a short length make this an excellent introductory Napoleon history that has since been added to by the enormous amount of Napoleonists.
Robert A. Binger
This book is not only a great history lesson, but it includes letters to and from different people involved in Napoleon's campaign. It gives this book more of a story rather than the typical textbook summary of events. It kept my interest the entire time and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone that's interested in Napoleon.
Sean Chick
Offers a superb understanding of the man, that is quite balanced and insightful. What doesn't quite work is that the author intends this book as an introductory biography, but there are so many events and characters to be covered that the book will overwhelm those without background knowledge.
The only short book on Napoleon I like. Amazing overview. This is the first book I ever give any of my friends who want to learn about him.
Bro_Pair أعرف
Very lucid biography, but I'm glad I read a book on the French Revolution before this, Markham moves briskly. The best chapter is about the bizarre conditions of his exile on St. Helena - it would make a great comedy
I was prepared to dislike this biography since it's, well, old... but I was pleasantly surprised to come across some insightful passages that make the book still worthy of a spot on the bookshelf.
Carol Stansfield
this copy bought in 1966 cost $0.95 the other copy purchased in 1990 costs $5.95 it was also the third printing, no revisions, the only difference between the two books was the cost.
Luke Lanciano
Very concise history of Napoleon, not for those unfamiliar with the time period. Moves fast, sometimes choppy, but thorough and not hagiographic, which is rare in a biography.
D.R. Pitcock
pretty outstanding summary of a military genius with little compassion for other human beings.he and alexander the great had a lot in common.
Read for a course at Baylor University entitled: Cultural History of Europe, taught by Dr. Richard Skinner.
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