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.
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