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Anne

Franklin, TN, USA | Member Since 2007

3
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  • Napoleon

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 44 mins)
    • By Paul Johnson
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (88)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (19)

    Paul Johnson's book is a refreshing return to a concept whose time has come once again: the Great Man theory of biography. It serves as "the greatest possible refutation of those who hold that events are governed by forces, classes, economics, and geography rather than the powerful wills of men and women". Napoleon truly was the Great Man of his age, a towering and terrible genius who managed to conquer the Continent.

    Mark Grannis says: "Not your standard biography"
    "Snide and one-sided."
    Overall

    I found Paul Johnson's work extremely unpleasant, both in content and in tone. His sole purpose seemed to be to prove that Napoleon was nothing but a lucky upstart, a man whose only real skill was map-reading. And to top it off, Johnson gives Napoleon complete responsibility for every dictatorship of the 20th century. He suggests that Hitler, Mussolini, and even Saddam Hussein all modeled themselves on Napoleon, though he does mention in passing that perhaps the example of the Roman emperors might have had some small influence on these despots. The reader, John Lee, did an admirable job of conveying the sneering tone of the author, making the whole experience of listening to this so-called definitive biography a completely unpleasant affair. I stuck it out to the very end, but I must say that I learned more history about this period from the Classic Comics series of my childhood than from this book. The only redeeming moments were the quotes from Wellington, including his comment after Napoleon's death, "Now I can call myself the greatest general alive." At least Wellington appreciated Napoleon.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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