Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) has been compared to Alexander the Great, with whom he shared the qualities of youth, daring and unbridled ambition, to Julius Caesar, another soldier-politician with a genius for propaganda, and to Augustus, the founder of the Roman Empire.
During the Second World War the British likened Napoleon Bonaparte to Hitler, an unjust comparison, but one which alluded to his greatest failure: the invasion of Russia.This biography will chart Napoleon’s life from Corsican army cadet to Emperor of the French and master of Europe, to his death in exile on St Helena. It investigates his legend and acknowledges his lasting legacy, which reshaped France, her government and her laws, and indeed the whole of Europe.
Timothy Wilson-Smith is the author of the prize-winning Delacroix (1992), Napoleon and his Artists (1996), Caravaggio (1998) and Napoleon: Man of War, Man of Peace (2002). He has been a Chief Examiner at A Level for Renaissance Art, has lectured at the National Portrait Gallery and has broadcast on the BBC.