This is the first book I have read on Napoleon and I have since watched a number of documentaries about him, including one with the author debating another Napoleon expert as to whether Napoleon should be called great - the author argued he should. With all this accumulated knowledge, I recommend this book. I thought the author did an excellent job of detailing, and in some cases I do mean detailing, the events of Napoleon's life. What I liked most is that the author gave different points of view on certain events, explained his conclusion and why he came to that conclusion. It showed he thought about the issues.
Memoirs are all too often just the recollections of the author where they don't say anything that cold possibly offend anyone and tell stories where they are the hero. This book is no exception. I had to put it down after I was 20% through. I could not take it any longer where Gates explained how well he handled a problem that of course was created by someone else. Also, it is scary when Gates admits to sitting through so many meetings where he kept himself going with too much coffee. I like to thinks someone with the power to make life and death decisions is not wired on caffeine.
Some of the reviews criticize the author for just rehashing old biographical information about Lee and not coming up with anything new. However, since I have never read a biography of Lee before, this did not bother me. I thought the author did a good job of giving the various points of view on certain topics and then stating his own conclusion. Well written and well narrated.