Most biographers writing about the life and achievements of Napoleon Bonaparte have focused on his dramatic personality or his military campaigns. In Napoleon: Soldier...

Most biographers writing about the life and achievements of Napoleon Bonaparte have focused on his dramatic personality or his military campaigns. In Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny (Pegasus, 2015) the inaugural volume of a projected three-volume biography of the French ruler Michael Broers’ takes a different approach. Drawing upon a new and vastly expanded collection of Napoleons letters to chronicle his subjects life from his early years in Corsica to the eve of his 1805 campaign, Broers focuses on his achievements in politics and state-building. He sees Napoleon’s time as conqueror and ruler of Italy as key both to his emergence as a prospective leader and to the development of his ideas of governance. Though applied bluntly in Egypt, their legacy in Napoleons development of the French state during his subsequent years as First Consul and as emperor are made clear by the author, who details how they created not just the structure of administration France uses to this day but more modern and uniform states throughout much of Europe as well.

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