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10 thoughts on “The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte

  1. says:

    The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte is the second part of Robert Asprey s comprehensive study of the man and his time This picks up where The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte left off, just after the crushing victory at Austerlitz Asprey will take us to the final demise of Napoleon on St Helena In between victory and death, Asprey covers all the twists and turns of the man, his allies and enemies This book was 100 pages shorter than the first It should have been at least 100 pages longer as Asprey races from year to year In the end, I had the feeling Asprey just wanted to be done with it because there is so much that could be included I had little knowledge of Napoleon until this year and decided to correct that Asprey is a great place to start for a novice in the Napoleonic era 5 StarsThe main benefit of Asprey s study of Napoleon is an absence of an agenda or bias Asprey focuses his military knowledge to explain why Napoleon may have taken this course in a battle, in the aftermath of a campaign or in his treatment of allies or defeated enemies Napoleon is not a devil or a hero in Asprey s recounting, he is an often arrogant genius who had good reasons for his decisions And sometimes not good reasons One Asprey trait is to place you in the battle and show how confusing it is No grand birds eye view, but a stream of consciousness recounting of movement, feints, mistakes, luck, discipline and guesswork Unfortunately, he can t take time to really dig into any battle but there is so much ground to cover Lack of battle maps and limited discussion of the fighting is my one complaint But he sets you up to explore all the campaigns and battles at a later date by tying it all together.Asprey s writing is always crisp and to the point He moves right along, using original sources to supplement the narrative Highest recommendation for the reader needing an introduction to Bonaparte

  2. says:

    Talk about a tragic hero.Other than breaking the conservation of time place rule, Napoleon really embodies such a Greek tragic arc a great man whose fundamental flaws bring him to greatness and then cause his fall In Asprey s first book, we got the ascent Despite several near misses, including attempts at Corsican insurrection that by all rights should have gotten him executed, his brilliance and arrogance bring him to the pinnacle of power In this book, that brilliance and arrogance lead him to push to far, empoverishing much of Europe through his attempts to break the English dominion of the seas and picking fights where he cannot win in the end Watching it all crumble, you can t help feeling sorry for the guy even as you re glad that something finally begins to check his hubris.His last days on St Helena are just pathetic The indecision of the other European powers as to whether to treat him as a monarch or not were what led to the Hundred Days, and what makes his end so sad They cannot stand to allow an upstart to make himself into royalty and yet, since he is royalty of a sort, the other European royals cannot bring themselves to do the logical thing and just execute him The farce of marooning him on random islands with a hollow shell of a court and wildly inconsistent rules and broken promises just emphasizes the weirdness of his position.Anyway, reading both books is dense, and looong But well written, entertaining, and very thorough Asprey has a sly sense of humor that bleeds through in unexpected places And while there is certainly that can be said entire books have been written about Waterloo, and the Congress of Vienna, and so on , these two works give an excellent foundation to understand the man and his times.

  3. says:

    Asprey s second book on Napoleon Bonaparte picks up right were the first one had left off, Napoleon now Emperor of the French, was engaging in a series of wars and struggles known as the Napoleonic Wars Europe was determined to destroy this usurper to power and he was determined to beat them back and gobble up their kingdoms as well Neither was Napoleon that father of the wars that accompanied the process, as his detractors would have us believe Almost constant warfare between was the legacy of the revolutionary chaos, a series of wars invoked by European and English rulers determined to topple this dangerous interloper and restore Bourbon feudalistic rule to France p.xxii In this war, Napoleon had the greatest victory of his career, the Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors Napoleon would defeat the forces of Austria and Russia at the same time William Pitt the Younger is said to have collapsed dead at the news This battle marked the official end of the Holy Roman Empire, as its last Emperor Francis II, dissolved it in favor of the Austrian Empire and proclaimed himself Emperor Francis I Austerlitz had made Napoleon the master of continental Europe Although he would still have adventures by conquering Prussia and fighting in Poland, he was clearly the man in charge He would use his new position to create the Continental System that would force the great Empire of the Sea, Great Britain, into an impossible position He would create puppet states and place his own brothers and in laws on to those thrones Napoleon s gentle if contemptuous treatment of Czar Alexander is curious, as if regarding the Russians as visitors from another planet He disparaged Russian arms, having noted even before Austerlitz that the cavalry although splendidly turned out had not yet learned to use savers effectively The Russian troops are brave, he commented after Austerlitz, their generals are inexperienced, their soldiers ignorant and sluggish which in truth makes their armies to be little feared He regarded Alexander as an ambitious but inexperienced and impetuous young man surrounded and controlled by firebrand courtiers such as Prince Dolgoruky who were in English pay Alexander s participation in the Third Coalition was a temporary aberration, an unwise intrusion in European affairs Russia is the sole power in Europe able to make war of fantasy, he wrote After a battle lost or won, the Russians vanish France, Austria, Prussia, to the contrary, must live a long time with the results of war p 2 However, enforcing the Continental System would prove costly for the Emperor of the French He would invade Portugal through Spain in order to enforce it When the Spanish royal family began to give Napoleon a hard time, he would depose the King of Spain, Charles IV, in favor of his own older brother Joseph Once , a Bonaparte would take a throne of a Bourbon king Spain however would never be fully conquered and Napoleon would have to invest to many troops fighting the Spanish gorilla forces A final weakness stemmed from Napoleon himself His diplomacy was atrocious The exclusion of either King Charles or Prince Ferdinand from rule was doomed from the beginning, as anyone with the slightest knowledge of the Spanish character would have realized The center of power envisaged by Napoleon did not exist The grandees who had propped up the throne were despised as the French Military occupation had turned into a war of pacification that neither Napoleon nor his generals how to fight It was a fast moving series of small wars in a big country, not a war of corps or divisions Early successes, a few hundred insurgents shot here, a few thousand there, villages burned, arms collected, private properties and fortunes sequestered, officials and priests forced to swear allegiance to the new crown, cities and towns required to pay enormous contributions all these were ingredients for a massive civil explosion p.113 For want of an heir, Napoleon was forced to divorce Josephine and remarried this time to Marie Louise of Austria, ironically the niece of the infamous Queen Marie Antoinette The new Empress would give birth to the Baby Napoleon, known as the King of Rome Nothing however would be as equally disastrous as Napoleon s invasion of Russia Seeking to punish Tsar Alexander I for his backing out of the Continental System, Napoleon invaded the Russian Empire The French Emperor would have victory after victory, but as Russia withdrew, the Russians burnt their own cities and farms As the winter came the French had no resources and they had to retreat with very heavy losses Seeing Napoleon as weak, the rest of Europe joined in to help destroy him The French were eventual overwhelmed and were forced to surrender Napoleon would be exiled to Elba, and King Louis XVIII was put on the throne that his brother had lost Napoleon was restless in Elba and plotted his way back to the throne of France King Louis XVIII had made quite a mess of things, just like his brother, and Napoleon would land in France to claim what he felt was rightfully his It was surely one of the boldest acts in history, Napoleon landed on the southern coast of France with 1,000 soldiers, two cannons and some very fiery words set forth in three proclamations, one to the French people, one to the French army, and one to the Old Guard p.375 Napoleon s new reign would last one hundred days This brief reign would cause immediate war Napoleon would fight his last battle at Waterloo, where he lost to allied forces under the command of the Duke of Wellington This time Napoleon would be exiled to St Helena where he would remain in a gilded cage until his death Napoleon s legacy is a mixed one, Asprey s work on him stands out because he does not give in to either side, the British paint him as a monster and the French a saint He was both and neither, Asprey presents Napoleon as an incredible human being and that is it He is a man who was the winner of a thousand battles who was ultimately brought down in the end He took on the entire world and lost but he is remembered for taking it on These were of course the original gorilla forces.

  4. says:

    Admittedly never much of a Napoleon fan I became intrigued after visiting the site of his military demise Waterloo Who was this guy How did he go from nobody to defender of the Revolution to dictator par extraordinaire This book and the first volume that preceded it does less of an effort to explain who he was, and focuses what he became In other words, this is not a psychological study of Napoleon the Man, but rather a travelogue of his life And, what a life it was I m hard pressed to think of another person in recent history that dreamed as large as he did and just fell short of fulfilling it.This is not a fanboy book nor one replete with numerous negative asides Asprey s treatment is very even handed He spares little gory detail but he also does not wallow in it The author is a military historian and both books move along in an episodic fashion perhaps expected of this style of writing.I have read somewhere that after Jesus, Napoleon is the most written about historical figure That may well be true, but after completing both books, my curiosity for Napoleon was whetted As a recommend, you could not go wrong with Asprey s rendering of this fascinating person As a biographer he did what he should have done he made a historical caricature a real human.

  5. says:

    A little than a week ago, I finished reading this wonderful book, which aptly sums up Napoleon s reign Here was a man who bestrode Europe like a Colossus Napoleon was a representation of a shift in the governing order whose rule was once largely regarded as a matter of divine right Though no believer in democracy as exemplified by Britain , he supported and nurtured people of proven talent both in the military and civilian spheres Yet notwithstanding his considerable talents and intellect, it was Napoleon s own egotism and the seemingly unending years of war from 1803 to 1815 that led to his own undoing I confess I felt deeply sympathetic about Napoleon in his later years in particular, the post Waterloo era when he was exiled on St Helena island, where he was treated rather shabbily by the British governor there At his best, he was a master military commander on both the strategic and tactical levels I find him endlessly fascinating.

  6. says:

    This is A book about Napoleon, it is Not, THE book about Napoleon As with the first Volume of this Series, Asprey delivers sort of the bare minimum, when he really could be giving us a new and definitive Biography Not enough colour, a slanted view of European politics Napoleon always in the right, Britain always perfidious , never enough maps or military explanation make this a book to read when you have the time or interest, but not part of the required canon, like Napier or Oman.Once again as with the Rise of Napoleon, the other volume, its mostly there in the pages This is the story after Austerlitz, all the way to the Second Exile after Waterloo So there s Jena Auerstadt, Eylau and Friedland, The Spanish Misadventure, the Austrian revolt of 1809 with Wagram, And then the march on Moscow All discussed at a basic standard, without enough military notes and maps Then we get the European revolt of 1813 14 that finally puts the Genie back in the bottle after Leipzig, the Battle of The Nations , barely explained at all Then there s Elba and Waterloo, with some attention paid to the last days on St Helena But then at the end, there s almost no refelction or analysis at all, as if the word count had simply gotten too high to continue It s a strangely constructed biography that wear its awkwardness awkwardly.This is a fine book for a junior reader, although there may be better ones pretty easily But its not a challenging read at all with little artifice Gamers Modellers Military Enthusiasts will find this a fine book for general background, but nothing they need to race out and buy Plenty of other places to get the basics of the era There are some nice b w prints sprinkled in the pages, but they are merely for light illustration not anything one needs to recreate on tables or in dioramas.

  7. says:

    It s fine Sometimes sympathetic portrayal of a steady, narrative type Needed to read to catch up on Russian debacle to Waterloo time period due to reading Kissinger s book about Metternich.

  8. says:

    The best Napoleon biography series.

  9. says:

    Superficial bites at Napoleon Written for those who are starting out in the era here Otherwise has nothing to offer

  10. says:

    A fast paced MILITARY history, and a story of hubris.This is basically the second volume of a two part book, along with The Rise of Napoleon As in Rise, Asprey tends to gloss over the political ideology of Napoleon, his philosophy, and his domestic achievement which is again discussed in terms of passing references to the building of monuments, schools, and the Napoleonic code His focus is also squarely European, and again makes only brief references to monumental events, especially in the Americas such as the Louisiana purchase and the revolution in Haiti As in Rise, however, this is not a detriment to the book Asprey makes note of these monumental events, so as to inform the reader of significant happenings in history, but makes no note to attempt to describe them in any depth, allowing the reader to be aware of other items of history that should be followed up on, without prejudicing them with analysis that is clearly beyond the scope of the work.The bulk of this work is an account of military adventures, primarily sourced through the letters of Napoleon Asprey discusses troop movements and battles quickly, but each theater of battle is introduced with maps that are essential to consult in order to understand the story wheeling around rivers to confront an enemy general s flank at a city is probably the most common description of what is happening in any given moment While tedious at time, these battles are essential, showing Napoleon as a military genius who was constantly exploiting his enemy s weaknesses and falling upon them as if from nowhere.There are two wars in this book that strike me as the most interesting the war in Spain, fighting against an insurrection throughout the country, and the cold war against Britain The Spanish Adventure is fascinating because it allows Napoleon to clearly be seen as the leader of an occupying imperial army, who installed his own hand picked King to rule the country Napoleon apparently thought that by controlling a small interlocking ruling junta of priests and others, he could tame the country Instead, his centers of power are isolated, and his armies are unable to communicate Soldiers who wander off are abducted and murdered, even left crucified outside of farmhouses The description of the insurgents is not too far off from descriptions of religious insurgents in the middle east today, which is an interesting little footnote to the story.The other major conflict in this book is Napoleon s efforts to bring down British imperial power, and cut off its commercial empire Having already tried half heartedly and abandoned a plan to invade the isles described in The Rise , Napoleon spends a large amount of time attempting to close off every continental port to British ships Unsurprisingly, this results in economic disaster in France, and a flourishing black market for British trade in other ports where Napoleon cannot exert strong control, from Prussia to Denmark to Russia.In his campaigns against both Spain and Britain, Napoleon continues to believe that he can be victorious through force alone The Reign is a good story of Napoleon attempting repeatedly to win those wars through military power It is a well written and informative story Of course, a book that spans seven years of Napoleon s rule as emperor while focusing solely on his military decisions, with little attention to administration, leaves something to be desired However, having not known much about Napoleon before reading these books, I have to say that Asprey is a strong writer, is clearly faithful to primary sources, and tells a good story The Rise and The Reign are well worth a read for anyone who wants to know about this period of history

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The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte download The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, read online The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, kindle ebook The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte, The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte fd9f4fcec386 Robert Asprey Completes His Definitive, Two Volume Biography With An Intimate, Fast Paced Look At Napoleon S Daring Reign And Tragic Demise With Of The Personality And Passion That Marked The First Volume Of This Cradle To The Grave Biography In The Rise Of Napoleon Bonaparte, Asprey Showed Us That Napoleon Was Not The Father Of Chaos, But Rather An Heir To It In This Companion Volume, We See Napoleon Struggling To Subdue The Turmoil We Peer Over Napoleon S Shoulder As He Solidifies His Growing Empire Through A Series Of Marriages, Military Victories, And Shrewd Diplomatic Manipulations We Watch Napoleon Lose Control Of His Empire, Plot His Return From Elba, Rally Peasants In His March To Paris, Endure Defeat At Waterloo And Suffer Exile And A Lonely Death On The Island Of St Helena Robert Asprey Tells This Fascinating, Tragic Tale In Lush Narrative Detail