'This book is ageless...sustained by a breadth of kwledge all the more impressive or being kept under control, it is proof against the erosion of time and the fickleness of fashion...Thompson is everyman's historian.' From the new foreword by Norman Hampson (author of Penguin History of Revolutionary France) This is the story of how the scion of a backward Corsican family became ruler of France at the age of thirty, its first emperor at thirty-five and in less than fifteen years conquered half of Europe and the Mediterranean world. Napoleon was and remains a dazzling enigma. Was he the last of the warrior kings, the first of the modern dictators, or a Byronic hero pursuing an essentially personal ambition by individual courage and lonely genius? Was he the saviour or the destroyer of the ideals and achievements of revolutionary France? Generally remembered for his exploits on the field of battle, Napoleon is presented here as a political invator and architect of a great world power. His lasting monument, claims J.M. Thompson, is t the Arc de Triomphe but the laws and institutions in which he adapted the ideas of 1789 to the traditions of the monarchy and enabled France to survive three invasions and a century and a half of political unrest. The real elegance and universality of Thompson's writing make this work immediately appealing to the general reader who wants to see the totality of Napoleon's achievements.
J. M. Thompson was Tutorial Fellow in Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford and University Lecturer in French History. He was a lecturer of great distinction, whose Lectures on Foreign History 1494-1789, first published in 1923, had sold over 43,000 copies by the time it went out of print 10 years ago.