Book Napoleon Bonaparte
Author John Stevens Cabot Abbott
Napoleon is a man who continues to fascinate us. Military genius, dictator (benevolent or otherwise), administrator, law-giver — he was all of these. He was believed to be short in stature — 'The Little Corporal' — but seemed to be one of those rare individuals who could fill a room with his presence. (He has been reported in various works as being five-feet, five-inches tall, and five-feet, seven-inches tall — not significantly different from the average height of men in his time.) He could be charming, cruel, unreasonable, generous, insightful and periodically incompetent. He solidified the aspirations of the French Revolution and then retracted some of the freedoms that had been gained from it. He fought the English but admired them. He sought to create an empire in Europe and North America, and then gave away 800,000 square miles of it for four cents an acre to Thomas Jefferson.