At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


Englund, Steven. Napoleon: A Political Life. Scribner, $35.

Library Journal: “A remarkable work of prodigious research and erudition….a definitive work that belongs in every European history collection.” Kirkus Reviews: “An all-encompassing study…Englund is a stylish writer…A rigorous contribution to the literature.” Commonweal: “Englund makes his way through the crowded scholarly landscape with great skill…A lively and convincing account.” Booklist: “Englund is an excellent writer whose vivid prose brings the man and his times to life. Although his admiration for his subject seems to lead him to de-emphasize Napoleon’s egotism and cynicism, this is still a valuable addition to our knowledge of one of the most compelling personalities in history.” New Republic: “Englund is something of a popularizer, but in the older and more estimable fashion of the man of letters. In Napoleon, he eschews close analysis and makes the sort of minor errors common to writers who have not pickled their brains in historical journals since early childhood. Still, he has serious and suggestive points to make, and he makes them in a luminous prose that few professional historians can match. His book is by far the best of the recent batch of Napoleoniana, and the best biography currently available…Englund cannot always resist undue admiration, and has a tendency to minimize the uglier side of Napoleon’s rule. Still, this is an enthralling work. Not only does it present Napoleon in the vivid detail he deserves, it also begins to suggest how to fit him back into the broad sweep of European history.” Publishers Weekly: “Englund slips forward and back chronologically and often uses terms and names before he has introduced them or neglects to identify them at all. When he is interested in a particular event or interpretation, he offers a strong reading…Elsewhere, the writing becomes uneven, plagued by shifting tenses, elaborate phrasing and occasional awkward wordplay.”

Bonus: Napoleon's letter to George W. Bush.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home