Napoleons Wars: An International History, 1803-1815
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Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803–1815 – By Charles Esdaile
Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory n. Napoleon's Wars: An International History, Charles Esdaile. Publisher: Viking , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. Europe's powers would have fought over their differences without Napoleon.
Mr Esdaile's book reflects a vast and varied range of recent scholarship. But he never leaves his geopolitical story for long. War started, he believes, because Europe was not in balance. It dragged on because Napoleon could not be trusted. Peace came—and lasted until later generations forgot the horror of the alternative. Join them. Subscribe to The Economist today. Media Audio edition Economist Films Podcasts. New to The Economist? Sign up now Activate your digital subscription Manage your subscription Renew your subscription.
Topics up icon. Blogs up icon. Current edition. Audio edition. Economist Films. The Economist apps. More up icon. He was stuck in a mire in Spain and then he made the fateful decision to invade Russia. The Russian invasion is a tragedy arising directly from Napoleon's hubris. The Russian's refusal to engage the French in battle turned Napoleon into his own nemesis. His thirst for one more decisive act of glory forced him to push his army well beyond what he knew was prudent.
Once Russia made the determination to push beyond their own borders Napoleon was transformed into a bleeding swimmer in shark infested waters. Napoleon was excessive in his punishments and territorial acquisitions in his last years in power. His enemies were determined to restore the balance of power. However, it didn't have to end in invasion of France, abdication and Bourbon restoration. But Napoleon's vainglorious nature rejected the notion that terms should be dictated to him.
He continued to seek one last glory that would allow him to be master of his own fate. While he fought an often masterful struggle against much larger armies France was weary of war, and in the end he was forced to abdicate. It should be noted, and Esdaile makes this clear within the first few pages, what the goals of this book are. Like the tile suggests, the book is an account of the foreign policies of the European states during the Napoleonic Wars. There are a plethora of books out there about the more conventional subjects, and Esdaile keeps this in mind.
For instance, he isn't really concerned in giving the reader a military history of the Wars. He will spend pages on the lead-up to an event like the Battle of Austerlitz, and then a paragraph to the event itself, followed by more pages dealing with the effects of the event. The book isn't a biography of Napoleon. While necessary biographic details are provided Esdaile isn't trying to give the reader a better understanding of Napoleon the man.
In a way, as Esdaile argues this would be an impossible tact. While Napoleon has many devoted admirers, he was able to inspire even more fervent enemies. The man himself spent a large portion of his post-Waterloo exile marshaling his forces for the inevitable battle of how he would be remembered by history. Many contemporary sources read like the source is screaming "I have an agenda" between every sentence.
In fact, the text makes it apparent that Esdaile is not a huge fan of Napoleon, and heaps a lot of scorn on so-called "apologists. However, I think he lets his prejudices and viewpoint creep into the text. This usually drives me crazy, I like my historical prose to be neutral in tone and somewhat omnipotent seeming. But this doesn't really derail the book. I've seen some reviews that have said that this book is dry, too dense, or not for the casual reader of history. I have to somewhat disagree.
Esdaile assumes some prior knowledge, but not much. Any gaps in knowledge can easily be fulfilled by a few quick trips to wikapedia. The prose is not fantastic, but it's not unreadable either. Esdaile writes in long, information dense paragraphs but there's nothing there beyond the grasp of a general reader. While the book is not popular fiction, anybody who thinks this is too academic has not read much scholarly work.
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Of course this isn't meant to be a beginners course on the Napoleonic Era. But it is what its title says it is. Esdaile and Tolstoy theories aren't completely incompatible. While much of history is on a root level impersonal and inexplicable the actions of specific individuals can cause tiny ripples in the great wave. While Napoleon was far from the single engine of history in the years of his reign, his personal characteristics played a substantial part in the determination of events.
While it is inappropriate to give Napoleon sole liability for the rise and fall of the Napoleonic Empire, it is equally inappropriate to excuse him from any blame or credit as an agent of a faceless greater force. I think Tolstoy and Esdaile would agree that the answer lies somewhere in the spaces between. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
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Napoleon's Wars : An International History, 1803-1815 by Charles Esdaile (2008, Hardcover)
Was he a monster, driven by an endless, ruinous quest for military glory? Or a social and political visionary brought down by petty, reactionary kings of Europe? In the most definitive account to date, respected historian Charles Esdaile argues that the chief motivating factor for Napoleon w No military figure in history has been quite as polarizing as Napoleon Bonaparte. In the most definitive account to date, respected historian Charles Esdaile argues that the chief motivating factor for Napoleon was his insatiable desire for fame. More than a myth-busting portrait of Napoleon, however, this volume offers a panoramic view of the armed conflicts that spread so quickly out of revolutionary France to countries as remote as Sweden and Egypt.
Napoleon's Wars seeks to answer the question, What was it that made the countries of Europe fight one another for so long and with such devastating results? Esdaile portrays the European battles as the consequence of rulers who were willing to take the immense risks of either fighting or supporting Napoleon—risks that resulted in the extinction of entire countries.
This is history writing equal to its subject—grand and ambitious. Get A Copy. Audio CD , pages.
Published December 1st by Tantor Media first published More Details Original Title. International Napoleonic Society Literary Award Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Napoleon's Wars , please sign up. Lists with This Book.
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