Napoleon: The Path to Power, 1769–1799
About the book
Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power was neither inevitable nor smooth; it was full of mistakes, wrong turns and pitfalls. During his formative years his identity was constantly shifting, his character ambiguous and his intentions often ill-defined. He was, however, highly ambitious, and it was this ruthless drive that advanced his career.
This book examines the extraordinary evolution of Napoleon's character and the means by which at the age of thirty he became head of the most powerful country in Europe and skilfully fashioned the image of himself that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day.
About the author
Philip Dwyer studied in Perth, Berlin and Paris, where he was a student of France's pre-eminent Napoleonic scholar, Jean Tulard. He has published widely on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, and is the editor of Napoleon and Europe, the author of Talleyrand, and has co-edited Napoleon and His Empire: Europe, 1804-1814.
He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History and is Director of the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
This is a wonderfully engaging history of Napoleon’s first 30 years. It gives fascinating accounts of the murky world of Corsican politics, and also of Napoleon’s complex relationship with his wife Josephine.
The modern resonances of this book are remarkable. The challenges facing Napoleon in the Middle East echo through to today. As well, given Dwyer’s view, Napoleon may well have been the first of the modern politicians to use the media consciously to create an heroic image.
The book is meticulously researched, well written and is a work of significant merit.