Nickel medal, colored picture . Commemorates Napoleon Bonaparte THE GREATEST WARLORDS OF HISTORY. Uncirculated UNC. (Since my opinion of grade may differ from yours, please view scans to base your decision on, thank you! )
Napoleon the great was a French Empreror
Napoleon the Great. By Andrew Roberts. Allen Lane; 936 pages; £30. To be published in America by Viking in November; $40. Buy from
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But in the end, this utterly redundant fat biography is salvaged by the only thing that ever salvages such books: the sheer writing skill of the author. In a long career of active publishing, Roberts has never written a dull sentence, and in Napoleon: A Life (tellingly titled Napoleon the Great in the UK) he’s at the height of his narrative powers, joyfully digging into his story for all the world as though it had never been told before. We get Bonaparte’s early life, his rise through the ranks of the old French Republic, his seizure of power and wars of conquest, his defeat and exile to Elba, his storied return, his second defeat and final exile to Saint Helena, and his death (Roberts dispenses rather handily with “imaginative conspiracy theories” alleging that Bonaparte was poisoned by his jailors), and once Roberts settles himself into the actual rushing courses of his story, he sparkles as a narrative historian. He relates dozens of great little moments, like the scene at the Battle of Wagram in 1809 when Bonaparte urged on his men:
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Award-winning historian whose latest book is Napoleon The Great, a biography of Napoleon, to be accompanied by a 3-part BBC TV series. He first made his name in 1994 with Eminent Churchillians. His many subsequent books include Napoleon and Wellington (2001), an investigation into the relationship between the two great generals, and Waterloo: Napoleon’s Last Gamble (2005).Our Tutorfair representatives were present last night at the Intelligence sell-out debate on ‘Napoleon The Great?’, chaired by Jeremy Paxman and held in advance of the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France and by many people’s reckoning the most brilliant general of modern times, is one of those who has most conspicuously failed to have greatness thrust upon him. This was not for want of trying on his part. From his youth Napoleon studied the careers of history’s titans with a view to mimicking them. His dazzling rise and spectacular rule – he was a general at the age of 24, an emperor at 34 – was an object lesson in one man bending the world to his will. But Napoleon the Great? The title of Andrew Roberts’s masterly new biography will have many scratching their chins. It is worth considering why.