Napoleon The Great Summary – September 2022

Author: Andrew Roberts

Short Summary
Napoleon The Great (2014) is the first biography in over two decades to be based on a close analysis of all surviving primary and secondary sources in French, English, Russian, German, Dutch and Italian. Napoleon was one of the most brilliant military commanders of all time, but he was also an egotistical despot who plunged Europe into years of war. In this book, Roberts shows us both sides of Napoleon: the great leader who changed the course of history, and the flawed man who was ultimately brought down by his ambitions.
napoleon the great

Detailed Summary

In this masterful biography, Andrew Roberts draws on a wealth of new material to paint a portrait of Napoleon as we have never seen him before. We see the great leader not only as a general and politician but also as a family man, with all the foibles and passions that entailed. This is the story of how one man’s vision and drive changed the course of history forever.

Yet, for all his towering presence in our history, Napoleon remains a surprisingly elusive figure. In this book, Roberts draws on unprecedented access to previously unseen archives to get closer to the real man than ever before. We see him as a general leading his troops from the front line; as a politician and lawgiver remaking France in his image; and as a diplomat striving – sometimes successfully, sometimes not – to bring peace to Europe.

Napoleon The Great Key Points

Being an immigrant himself, helped him to build a strong base of support among immigrants

In 1769, the future emperor of France was born on the island of Corsica. At the time, Corsica had only recently been acquired by France and many of its residents were resentful toward their new rulers. Young Napoleon quickly learned to speak both French and Italian fluently, which helped him gain acceptance among the people he would later rule. He also gained a keen understanding of military strategy from his father, who was a general in the French Army.

When Napoleon began his rise to power in 1799, he did so as an outsider who was not part of the established ruling class. This allowed him to appeal to common people who were tired of being governed by an elite few. It also helped him gain support from other European countries that were wary of France’s growing power. In 1804, Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France and set out to conquer much of Europe.

First, as an outsider, he was not tainted by the corruption of the French government. Second, he was not afraid to take risks—something that proved to be invaluable in both his military and political careers. Finally, his status as an immigrant allowed him to tap into a whole new pool of support among the French people.

This is because, as an outsider, he was not saddled with the baggage of the past and could therefore make decisions based on merit rather than tradition. He was also able to quickly adapt to new situations and take advantage of opportunities that presented themselves. This helped him rise to power very rapidly.

Napoleon believed that by living a Stoic lifestyle – one focused on interdisciplinary and control

Napoleon’s philosophy was truly interdisciplinary, focusing on what he could control. For Napoleon, this meant taking charge of his destiny and making sure that he always had a Plan B in case things went wrong. This allowed him to maintain a sense of detachment from the world and its problems while still being able to have an impact on it. It is this focus on what he can control that makes Napoleon’s philosophy a Stoic one. This philosophy served him well throughout his career, and it is one of the reasons why he is still remembered as one of history’s great leaders.

“You must not fear death, my lads; defy it, and you drive it into the enemy’s ranks.” That was one of Napoleon’s most famous quotes, and it encapsulated his philosophy about life quite well. He believed that by living a Stoic lifestyle – one focused on interdisciplinary and control – he would be able to achieve great things. And indeed, he did. Under his leadership, France became a major world power, and his military campaigns changed the course of history. Even in defeat, Napoleon maintained his dignity and stoicism, which only added to his legend.

He believed that by understanding different philosophical perspectives, he could better understand the world around him and make more informed decisions. This is evident in his famous saying, “A head full of ideas is worth more than a head full of gold.” To Napoleon, having a breadth of knowledge was more valuable than anything else.

His vision was ahead of its time. He paid the price for being a pioneer, but it was worth it

All great leaders have a vision for the future. But sometimes, their vision is too early for the period they’re living in. Napoleon is a perfect example of this. The vision of Napoleon is to create a unified Europe under his rule, with a single currency and standardized laws. This would have made trade much easier and allowed for more growth. However, the other European states were not ready for this level of cooperation. As a result, Napoleon’s plans failed and he was eventually exiled to Elba. However, his legacy lives on in the form of the European Union. Napoleon’s dream of a unified Europe is slowly becoming a reality, albeit without him at the helm.

He also wanted to establish a uniform system of measurement and currency, which would have made international trade much easier. And he wanted to build a massive network of canals and roads to improve transportation. All of these things would have made Europe much more unified and strong, and would likely have prevented the horrific wars of the 20th century. So why didn’t it happen? Well, first off, Napoleon was an egotistical dictator who didn’t care about anything except his power.

Secondly, most of the other European states were too busy fighting each other to cooperate with him. And thirdly, technology wasn’t advanced enough at the time to make some of his visions a reality. But even though Napoleon’s plans ultimately failed, he was still one of the most forward-thinking leaders in history. As a result, Napoleon ended up being defeated and exiled. But even though he didn’t succeed in his lifetime, his vision eventually came true many years later.

Napoleon The Great Quotes

“Despite hating mobs and technically being a nobleman, Napoleon welcomed the Revolution. At least in its early stage,s it accorded well with the Enlightenment ideals he had ingested from his reading of Rousseau and Voltaire.” –Andrew Roberts

“It is not genius which reveals to me suddenly, secretly, what I have to say or do in a circumstance unexpected by other people: it is reflection, meditation.” –Andrew Roberts

Napoleon The Great Review

I enjoyed it immensely. The book tells the story of Napoleon’s life, from his humble beginnings as a poor boy in Corsica to his eventual rise to power as one of the most influential leaders in European history. I found the book to be both informative and entertaining. Highly recommended.

To whom I would recommend Napoleon The Great Summary?

  • Anyone who is interested in learning more about one of history’s most fascinating figures.
  • Anyone who has big plans to accomplish.
  • Anyone who is an immigrant and ever bullied.
Napoleon The Great Summary - September 2022

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