616pp ILLUS 2011 LIST PRICE: £20.99 (P) B784



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Lefebvre's classic work is a definitive portrait of the Napoleonic era. It sweeps us from the lightning coup d'etat of 18 Brumaire in 1799 to Napoleon’s final downfall amidst the wheat fields of Waterloo. More than a biography, it is a brilliant survey of the turbulent age Napoleon inaugurated in his attempt to redraw the map of Europe, from the Peninsular War to the invasion of Russia. Lefebvre is equally clear-eyed about Napoleon's genius and his flaws. Napoleon's determination to emulate Caesar and Augustus condemned Europe to more than a decade of war and economic crisis, but he also built an empire, introducing educational, administrative and financial initiatives that are still in place today.

A penetrating interpretation . . . No one with a serious interest in the Napoleonic period can afford to ignore it. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT