The story of Napoleon by Harold Wheeler- PDF ebook

The story of Napoleon 

The story of Napoleon
The story of Napoleon



There is no more marvelous story in human history than that of Napoleon I., Emperor of the French. His career is one long demonstration of the reality of the proverb, " Truth is stranger than fiction." 
So fascinating are the details of a life in which so much was attempted and accomplished that many thousands of volumes have been published dealing with its various phases. 

The demand is by no means exhausted, the supply continuous, as a witness in the present work. Busy pens are still employed in reviewing the almost superhuman activities of the once-obscure Corsican, whose genius for war and conquest upset many a throne, secured for him the Overlordship of Europe, and eventually consigned him to an island prison. Indeed, there seems little likelihood of a lull in interest while the chief source of instruction and amusement of human nature is humanity — in other words, itself. Most of us are content to be pupils in the school of experience, willing to sit at the feet of such a master as Napoleon, and learn the lessons he has to teach. 

The result cannot be other than profitable. Napoleon has been dead nearly ninety years, but the dazzling brilliancy of his exploits has left a rich afterglow that enables us to get a much less distorted view of him than were our forefathers who were his contemporaries. 

A subdued light is more useful than one so strong that it almost blinds. With the former we can see details more distinctly, note faults and flaws if there be any, get a clearer idea of an object in every way. Within living memory the name of Napoleon, particularly in Great Britain, was associated with everything that was base and vile, now we know that he was neither the Borgia of his enemies nor the Arch-Patriot of his friends. Nevertheless, it is easier for a sightless person to thread a needle than for the most conscientious historian to arrive at an absolutely just summing-up of the case. The " Memoirs " of those with whom the Emperor was intimately acquainted are seldom impartial; the majority of the writers are either definitely for or against him. 


Take those of Baron Meneval as a typical example. The author was one of Napoleon's secretaries, and every page of his work is a defense of his master. In the matter of the execution of the Due d'Enghien, for instance, he takes up the cudgels on behalf of the man who was responsible for the tragedy at Vincennes, boldly stating that " One is forced to admit that Napoleon fulfilled a painful duty, as Head of the Government, and that instead of charging him with a crime, one should rather pity him for having been placed in the necessity of accepting all the odium of an act, the deplorable consequences of which, in the future, his foresight only too clearly pointed out to him."

 Far from Napoleon being concerned as to probable political consequences, he asserted it would teach the Bourbons a lesson. 
On the other hand, the " Memoirs " of Barras, a prominent figure in the French Revolution, might have been of considerable service to us in gathering information as to Bonaparte's early career, had it not been proved beyond question that much he tells us is sheer bare-faced untruth, and he everywhere seeks to belittle the accomplishments of the young soldier. 

Some contents of the book:

I. Napoleon the Boy...
II. The Schooldays of Napoleon
III. Napoleon as Officer and Author.
IV. Napoleon and the Corsican Volunteers V. The Eve of the Reign of Terror . .
VI. Napoleon's First Fight with the English.
VII. Napoleon the Soldier of Fortune.
VIII. " The Spark of Great Ambition ".
IX The Italian Campaign. ,.
X. The Expedition to Egypt . ,
XI. From Cairo to Frejus
XII. How Napoleon Seized the Reins of Government
XIII. The Passage of the Alps
XIV. Blessings of Peace ....
XV. The Dawn of the Empire
XVI. The Threatened Invasion of England and its Sequel .....
XVII. The War of the Third Coalition.
XVIII. The Prussian Campaign
XIX. The Polish Campaign . . .
XX. Friedland and Tilsit
XXI. Napoleon's Commercial War with Great Britain
Author: 
Harold Felix Baker Wheeler:
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