Napoleon Series Archive 2003

New Book

NAPOLEON: A POLITICAL LIFE By Steven Englund.

Scribner 2004 ( 592 pages, $35.00 )
Hardcover, ISBN: 0-684-87142-4

Contents

Frisson

Book I: Allons enfants de la Patrie
I. Napoleone di Buonaparte
Unsceptered Isle: Corsica in the Eighteenth Century
The Buonapartes of Ajaccio
Napoleon's Childhood

II. The Making of the Patriot
To France (Autun and Brienne)
Gentleman and Officer
Family
Enfant de la Patrie (Psychology)
Enfant de la Patrie (Ideas)
Corsican Junkets

III. The Unmaking of the Patriot
Annuit Coeptis: The French Revolution and the Emergencen of "the Political"
Divergences: Corsica and Napoleon in the Revolution
Styles of Patriotism: Paoli versus the Bonapartes
Interlude: Writer in the Making?
Napoleon in France (May-October 1792)
Forced Departure (1793)
Beyond Patriotism

IV. Robespierre on Horseback
"The Supper at Beaucaire"
Recognition
The Dinner at Ancona
The Spinner's Plans
Vendémiaire, Year IV

Book II: Le jour de gloire est arrivé

V. Love and War
Clisson in Love
A Rose by Any Other Name
The Improviser of Victory: The First Italian Campaign (1796-1797)
"Three to One": The "Moral" Elements of Victory
Lodi

VI. Apprenticeship in Statecraft: Italy and Egypt
"Cister" Republics
Death in Venice (of a Jacobin Reputation)
France Seen from the Army of Italy
Paris Interlude
A Passage to India: Egypt, 1798-1799, the Military Operation
Sultan El-Kebir -- Governing Egypt
Egypt: A Balance Sheet

VII. Power (I): Taking It (Brumaire)
"Politics" and "the Political"
"The National Mess": The State of France, 1798-1799
The Return of the Prodigy
Brumaire: An Actor's Nightmare

VIII. Power (II): Using It (The Consulate)
The Pastiche of the Year VIII
War in Italy (Again): The Second Italian Campaign, 1800
The Blocks of Granite: Le Politique
Concordat
Economy, State, and Society: Bourgeois Consolidation?
The Politics of Depoliticization...
...and the "National" Fix
Napoleon and the Bonapartes

Book III: Contre nous, de la tyrannie

IX. Power (III): Naming It (From Citizen Consul to Emperor of the French)
Parallel Lives, Parallel Plots (1800-1802)
Consul for Life (1802-1804)
The War of Dirty Tricks
Getting Worse: The Coming of the Empire
Stupete Gentes!: The Republican Emperor
Coronation
Legitimacy: The Never-Ending Quest

X. La Guerre -- Encore (et pour toujours)
The Failure of the Peace
Forming the Third Coalition
The Great Campaign (1805)
From Grande Nation to Grand Empire
The Fourth Coalition (1806-1807): The Prussian and
the Russian Campaigns
Blockade (I)

XI. The Empire -- and Its Fissures (1807-1810)
Imperator and Imperium
The Janus Face of the Grand Empire
Spain
The War of the Fifth Coalition: 1809
The Pope and the Emperor

Book IV: L'Etendard sanglant est levé

XII. The Great Unraveling (1810-1812)
Highwater: Divorce, Remarriage, Heir
The Crisis of 1810-1811
The Blockade (II)
The Napoleonic Dream: Political Economy as National
Economics
1812 Overture
The Flight Forward
The Leader and His Men
His Master's Voice

XIII. The Collapse (1812-1814)
Malet
Pius and Impious (The Pope and the Emperor Again)
1813: The Crusade of the Sovereigns
The National Revival Manqué
The Lion in Winter: The Champagne Campaign (1814)
Abdication?
Abjection

XIV. Nation-Talk: The Liberal Empire
"Vesuvius Next Door to Naples": Napoleon on Elba
(May 1814-March 1815)
The Kingdom of the Weather Vane: Restoration France
The Eagle Has Landed
The Hundred Days (March 20-June 29)
Sub specie aeternitatis...
The Jacobin Specter
The Nation-Talker: Napoleon Chameleon
Waterloo: Vae Victis
Abjection (II), Abdication (II)

XV. Shadows: "The Liberal Empire"
The New "Saint"
Memoirs
Sickness unto Death
The Napoleonic Tradition(s)

Introduction (Misplaced)
Notes
Bibliographical Comments
Acknowledgments
Index

This sophisticated and masterful biography, written by a respected French history scholar who has taught courses on Napoleon at the University of Paris, brings new and remarkable analysis to the study of modern history's most famous general and statesman.

Since boyhood, Steven Englund has been fascinated by the unique force, personality, and political significance of Napoleon Bonaparte, who, in only a decade and a half, changed the face of Europe forever. In Napoleon: A Political Life, Englund harnesses his early passion and intellectual expertise to create a rich and full interpretation of a brilliant but flawed leader.

Napoleon believed that war was a means to an end, not the end itself. With this in mind, Steven Englund focuses on the political, rather than the military or personal, aspects of Napoleon's notorious and celebrated life. Doing so permits him to arrive at some original conclusions. For example, where most biographers see this subject as a Corsican patriot who at first detested France, Englund sees a young officer deeply committed to a political event, idea, and opportunity (the French Revolution) -- not to any specific nationality. Indeed, Englund dissects carefully the political use Napoleon made, both as First Consul and as Emperor of the French, of patriotism, or "nation-talk."

As Englund charts Napoleon's dramatic rise and fall -- from his Corsican boyhood, his French education, his astonishing military victories and no less astonishing acts of reform as First Consul (1799-1804) to his controversial record as Emperor and, finally, to his exile and death -- he is at particular pains to explore the unprecedented power Napoleon maintained over the popular imagination. Alone among recent biographers, Englund includes a chapter that analyzes the Napoleonic legend over the course of the past two centuries, down to the present-day French Republic, which has its own profound ambivalences toward this man whom it is afraid to recognize yet cannot avoid. Napoleon: A Political Life presents new consideration of Napoleon's adolescent and adult writings, as well as a convincing argument against the recent theory that the Emperor was poisoned at St. Helena. The book also offers an explanation of Napoleon's role as father of the "modern" in politics.

What finally emerges from these pages is a vivid and sympathetic portrait that combines youthful enthusiasm and mature scholarly reflection. The result is already regarded by experts as the Napoleonic bicentennial's first major interpretation of this perennial subject.

Steven Englund earned his Ph.D. at Princeton University. He has taught courses on French history and on Napoleon at UCLA, the University of Paris-VIII (Saint-Denis), and Paris's prestigious School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences. He is the author of The Inquisition in Hollywood (with Larry Ceplair), Man Slaughter: A True Story of Love, Death and Justice in America, and Grace of Monaco. He lives in Paris.
Pierre Sorlin
University of Paris-VIII (Saint-Denis)

Let me put this bluntly: I have never before read a book that simultaneously impressed me for its scholarly brilliance yet read like a novel. Englund's examination of Napoleon's apolitical politics of la Nation is must reading for historians, yet his opening description of the Emperor's tomb at Les Invalides is worthy of Balzac.

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Louis Bergeron
School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (Paris), author of France Under Napoleon

With his acute look from across the Atlantic, and his panoramic knowledge of the literature on the subject, Englund must be read. There is no doubt some predestination present in his writing a book that will definitely remain an epoch-making one.

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Philip G. Dwyer
University of Newcastle, editor of Napoleon and Europe

Steven Englund's is the best biography of Napoleon to have been written in English in many, many years.

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Jack Miles
MacArthur Fellow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography

Two centuries later, Napoleon Bonaparte can still fill us with awe -- at least when we meet him in the company of Steven Englund. An arresting reintroduction to a man about whom, after all, the last word has not been said.

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Jacques-Olivier Boudon
University of Paris-IV (Sorbonne), President of the Institut Napoléon

Englund invites us to take the deepest possible look at Napoleon. He tracks the mystery -- one might say, the genius -- of a man who was adulated and hated by an entire generation of romantics. Yet Englund refuses the romantic vision; he sticks to the facts, which he recounts with a diabolic precision, portraying in incisive strokes the best portraits drawn of the Emperor's colleagues. Far more than just another synthesis, this superb book gives us the following message: If Napoleon was certainly the heir of the Revolution, he is even more the incarnation of the French nation.

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Arno J. Mayer
Princeton University, author of The Furies: Violence and Terror in the Russian and French Revolutions

This life of Napoleon is constructed magnificently and written with elegance and zest. Englund treats Napoleon as a political general of the epoch of the French Revolution that so profoundly marked both his consciousness and his project. The author has a magisterial command of the most important scholarship on the General on Horseback, but he has the great merit of carrying his erudition lightly.

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John Merriman
Charles Seymour Professor of History, Yale University, author of A History of Modern Europe

Napoleon, whose amazing life, incessant wars, and centralized empire helped shape modern France and influenced modern Europe, continues to fascinate. Steven Englund's new biography of Napoleon is the finest now available, unfailingly informed, elegantly crafted, and invariably compelling.

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