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"Napoleon: The Man Behind the Myth" Topic


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137 hits since 5 May 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP05 May 2018 8:50 p.m. PST

"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…."
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