"Only the man of Galilee and Mahomet has so profoundly affected human events."

Alva Adams




"….in very truth, Napoleon was one of the most productive men that ever lived."



"…the mightiest breath of life which ever animated human clay."



"There is only one secret to being a leader, and that is to be strong, because in strength there is no error and no illusion; it is the naked truth."



""history records no man with such diversified talents. In energy and intellect almost superhuman, his egotism was superb. With sublime audacity he declared that "the spot where I stand is the most important on the globe."

Alva Adams


"His career is the most extraordinary that has occurred for one thousand years….he was certainly a great, an extraordinary man, nearly as extraordinary in his qualities as in his career; at least, so upon reflection, I, who have seen him near and much, am disposed to consider him. He was clearly the most extraordinary man I ever saw, and I believe the most extraordinary that has lived in our age, or many ages."




"Fortune ….is a woman, and the more she does for me, the more I will demand from her…."





"In a disordered imagination lies the source of human unhappiness. It makes us wander across the seas from one fantasy to another, and if its spell leaves us in the end, it is by then too late; the hour strikes and the man dies detesting life."




"But here it was borne in on us that Fame is not a mere shadow, but a real force. Doubly powerful by the inflexible pride it lends its favorites and the timid precautions it suggests to such as would venture to attack them."

(about Napoleon) Count Philippe Paul de Segur


"Napoleon-the greatest success, the greatest failure that the world has ever known."

Oscar Wilde


"What was Napoleon? Demigod? Demon? Hero? Pawn of circumstance? Master of Destiny? Man of force? Man of Peace? Liquidator of the French Revolution? Child of the French Revolution? Forerunner, like Alexander the great, of One World?"

Clifton Fadiman


"I wanted to rule the world, and in order to do this I needed unlimited power……I wanted to rule the world-who wouldn’t in my place? The world begged me to govern it…."



   "Napoleon was in large measure driven by nothing more complicated than the lust for power and domination over others. Attendant on this was an often childish set of reactions at being thwarted in any way. Having no sense of justice and no espect for the wishes of others, he took any objection to his actions as gratuitous rebellion, and responded with disproportionate vehemence. Instead of ignoring a minor setback or turning an obstacle, he would unleash bluster and force, which often involved him in unnecessarily costly head-on collisions.

   he was also driven by a curious sense of destiny, a self-invented notion of a kind often affected by young men brought up on Romantic literature (his favorite reading had been the poems of Ossian and The Sorrows Of Young Werther) , which he came to believe in himself. "Is there a man blind enough not to see," he had declared during his Egyptian campaign in 1798, "that destiny directs all my operations?" Napoleon was also a great admirer of the plays of Corneille, and there is reason to believe he saw himself as acting out some great tragedy in their mould."

Adam Zamoyski

Moscow 1812


"One approaches the literature about Napoleon as if it were some forbidding jungle in which dangers lurk on all sides. The books and articles about him in all languages would fill a three-story library, and his portrait, shaped by friend and foe alike, is actually a whole bewildering picture gallery. There seems to be not one Napoleon, but as many Napoleons as there are historians and biographers. And the political fortunes of Napoleon did not end with his death; they shifted with every changing regime of nineteenth-century France. This, literally, was a man for the ages. No figure of history ever released such a flood of reminiscences and memoirs as this so-called Man of Destiny. Seventy years after his death secret diaries containing entries about him were still being unearthed and printed for the first time. Few, indeed, were the men and women who , having once moved within talking radius of this man, did not sooner or later commit their recollections to writing. The shelves are loaded with pen-portraits and candid close-ups. No man’s public and private life was ever so sedulously subjected to the bifocal microscope of gossip and history. At every stage of his incredible career, from the "whiff of grapeshot" that smashed the French Revolution to his last agony on St. Helena, some watchful witness was on hand to tell the world about him.

We would thus seem to have him complete-Napoleon in battle, Napoleon in love, Napoleon in a tantrum, Napoleon with Metternich, Napoleon and Goethe, Napoleon with Josephine. Through the welter of diaries and reminiscences we soon find ourselves on the most intimate terms with the soldier, the general, the first consul, the emperor, the lover. We accompany him on his vast conquests, trudge back with him from a Moscow in flames, overhear him contemplate flight to America after the rout of Waterloo. Through the eyes and ears of kings and queens, nobles, cabinet ministers, soldiers and generals, secretaries and chambermaids, we come to know this man as few men have ever been known. Yet we remain baffled by the final mystery-the driving force behind it all. Was it love of power, of France, the gigantic compensation of an upstart’s ego? Or was this pudgy little Corsican who won and lost an empire merely the pawn in a game of reaction-the Frankenstein monster created by the counter-revolution only to be destroyed in panic by its creators?"

Louis Biancolli

The Book of Great Conversations


"Here I am sitting at a comfortable table loaded heavily with books, with one eye on the typewriter and the other on Licorice the cat, who has a great fondness for carbon paper, and I am telling you that the Emperor Napoleon was a most contemptible person. But should I happen to look out of the window, down upon Seventh Avenue, and should the endless procession of trucks and carts come to a sudden halt, and should I hear the sound of the heavy drums and see a little man on his white horse in his old and much-worn green uniform, then I don’t know, but I am afraid that I would leave my books and my kitten and my home and everything else to follow him wherever he cared to lead. My own grandfather did this and Heaven knows he was not born to be a hero….if you ask me for an explanation. I must answer that I have none. I can only guess at one of the reasons. Napoleon was the greatest of actors and the whole European continent was his stage. At all times and under all circumstances he knew the precise attitude that would impress the spectators most and he understood what words would make the deepest impression-at all times he was master of the situation….Even today he is as much a force in the life of France as a hundred years ago…."

Hendrik Van Loon (written in 1921


"Of all the defeats that I have tasted none has been so bitter-not even Waterloo-than my defeat at Acre. For it was there that Fate or Providence determined that I should never rule the world and that a French-directed peace would never prevail. I knew it then. I knew it ever afterward. No empire can ever be wrought without the peace of Jerusalem at its center because that is the hinge of history. But then, no empire can ever be wrought with the peace of Jerusalem at its center because such peace is humanly unattainable. it is an impossible mysterious mistress."

Napoleon Bonaparte

Martin Forbes

History Lessons; The Importance of Cultural Memory


"Bonaparte is no longer the real Bonaparte; he is a figure of legend composed of a poet's mad musings, soldiers' accounts, and folk tales. 

   What we see today is the Charlemagne and the Alexander of medieval epic. This fantastic hero shall remain the real person; the other portraits will vanish."

-Francois Rene de Chateaubriand


"The more I study the world, the more I am convinced of the inability of brute force to create anything."



(ed note: More than 250,000 books on Napoleon-100 worth reading?)

Book: "Napoleon" by Paul Johnson

Book: "At Napoleon's Side in Russia: The Classic Eyewitness Account" by Armand de Caulaincourt

Book: "Napoleon: The Immortal Emperor" by Gerard Gengembre

Book: "The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte" by Robert B. Asprey

Book: "The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte" by Robert B.Asprey

Book: "Napoleon" by Frank McLynn

Book: "Napoleon: The Visionary Conqueror" by Eric Ledru

Book: "Who Was Who In The Napoleonic Wars" by Phillip J. Haythornthwaite

Book: "Napoleon: Man of War, Man of Peace" by Timothy Wilson-Smith

Book: "Napoleon: A Political Life" by Steven Englund

Book: "Napoleon: Man of War, man of Peace" by Timothy Wilson-Smith

Book: "Napoleon's Military Machine:" by Phillip J. Haythornthwaite

Book: "The Mammoth Book Of Soldiers At War: Firsthand Accounts of Warfare from the Age of Napoleon" Ed. by Jon E. Lewis

Book: "The Fall of Napoleon: The Final Betrayal" by David Hamilton-Williams

Book: "With Napoleon In Russia: The Illustrated memoirs of Faber du Faur, 1812." Ed. by Jonathan North

Book: "In The Words of Napoleon: The Emperor Day by Day" Ed. by R.M. Johnston

Book: "The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte" by Robert B. Asprey

Book: "The Road To Rivoli: Napoleon's First Campaign" by Martin Boycott-Brown

Book: "Nelson and the Nile: The Naval War Against Bonaparte 1798" by Brian Lavery

Book: "Napoleon Bonaparte: England's Prisoner" by Frank Giles

Book: "The Black Room at Longwood: Napoleon's Exile on Saint Helena" by Jean-Paul Kauffmann

Book: "Napoleon: His Wives and Women" by Christopher Hibbert

Book: "The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon's Josephine" by Andrea Stuart

Book: "Josephine: A Life of the Empress" by Carolly Erkson

Book: "Napoleon: His Wives and Women" by Christopher Hibbert

Book: "Napoleon: The Immortal Emperor" by Gerard Gengenibre


© 2001



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