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Napoleon: The Man Behind the Myth
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Adam Zamoyski
Napoleon: The Man Behind the Myth by Adam Zamoyski at Abbey's Bookshop,

Napoleon: The Man Behind the Myth

Adam Zamoyski


Harper Collins

Biography: historical, political & military;
European history;
Napoleonic Wars


752 pages

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'Napoleon is an out and out masterpiece and a joy to read.' Sir Antony Beevor, author of Stalingrad

A landmark new biography that presents the man behind the many myths. The first writer in English to go back to the original European sources, Adam Zamoyski's portrait of Napoleon is historical biography at its finest. Napoleon inspires passionately held and often conflicting visions. Was he a god-like genius, Romantic avatar, megalomaniac monster, compulsive warmonger or just a nasty little dictator?

Whilst he displayed elements of these traits at certain times, Napoleon was none of these things. He was a man, and as Adam Zamoyski presents him in this landmark biography, a rather ordinary one at that. He exhibited some extraordinary qualities during some phases of his life but it is hard to credit genius to a general who presided over the worst (and self-inflicted) disaster in military history and who single-handedly destroyed the great enterprise he and others had toiled so hard to construct. A brilliant tactician, he was no strategist.

But nor was Napoleon an evil monster. He could be selfish and violent but there is no evidence of him wishing to inflict suffering gratuitously. His motives were mostly praiseworthy and his ambition no greater than that of contemporaries such as Alexander I of Russia, Wellington, Nelson, Metternich, Blucher, Bernadotte and many more. What made his ambition exceptional was the scope it was accorded by circumstance.

Adam Zamoyski strips away the lacquer of prejudice and places Napoleon the man within the context of his times. In the 1790s, a young Napoleon entered a world at war, a bitter struggle for supremacy and survival with leaders motivated by a quest for power and by self-interest. He did not start this war but dominated his life and continued, with one brief interruption, until his final defeat in 1815.

Based on primary sources in many European languages, and beautifully illustrated with portraits done only from life, this magnificent book examines how Napoleone Buonaparte, the boy from Corsica, became `Napoleon' how he achieved what he did, and how it came about that he undid it. It does not justify or condemn but seeks instead to understand Napoleon's extraordinary trajectory.

By:   Adam Zamoyski
Imprint:   Harper Collins
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   edition
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 159mm,  Spine: 53mm
Weight:   1.140kg
ISBN:   9780008116071
ISBN 10:   0008116075
Pages:   752
Publication Date:   November 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Adam Zamoyski is a British historian of Polish origin. He is the author of the best-selling 1812: Napoleon's Fatal March on Moscow and its sequel Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna, as well as several other acclaimed works on key figures and aspects of European history. His books have been translated into Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Persian as well as most of the European languages. His comprehensive history of Poland, The Polish Way, not only featured in the best-seller lists for several weeks when it came out in 1987, but has never been out of print since. Zamoyski has also contributed to all the major British papers and periodicals, as well as lecturing widely in England, Europe and the United States. He lives in London and Poland.

`Adam Zamoyski has retold a story that we thought we knew and made it fresh: Stripping away two centuries of mythology, discarding the apocryphal stories and legends, he finally brings us the real Napoleon.' Anne Applebaum, author of Red Famine: Stalin's War on Ukraine Praise for Adam Zamoyski: `So brilliant that it is impossible to put the book aside ... A master craftsman at work' Michael Burleigh, Sunday Times `Zamoyski's book is a brilliant piece of narrative history, full of sparkling set-pieces, a wholly fascinating account of what must be reckoned one of the greatest military disasters of all time' Sunday Telegraph `No review can do justice to the scholarly integrity and human sensitivity of this book, or to the horror is describes... 1812 is one of the greatest stories ever told' Christopher Woodward, Spectator `Zamoyski's book is a brilliant piece of narrative history, full of sparkling set-pieces, a wholly fascinating account of what must be reckoned one of the greatest military disasters of all time' Sunday Telegraph `Adam Zamoyski's account of the 1812 campaign is so brilliant that it is impossible to put the book aside...A master craftsman at work' Sunday Times `An utterly admirable book. It combines clarity of thought and prose with a strong narrative drive' Daily Telegraph `Elegantly delivers gripping storytelling, bold revisionism, and poignant suffering' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Evening Standard `The best non-fiction version to be written so far ... Zamoyski is brilliant at explaining what it must have been like to be a foot soldier' Mail on Sunday

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