Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power
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In this second volume of Philip Dwyer’s authoritative biography on one of history’s most enthralling leaders, Napoleon, now 30, takes his position as head of the French state after the 1799 coup. Dwyer explores the young leader’s reign, complete with mistakes, wrong turns, and pitfalls, and reveals the great lengths to which Napoleon goes in the effort to fashion his image as legitimate and patriarchal ruler of the new nation. Concealing his defeats, exaggerating his victories, never hesitating to blame others for his own failings, Napoleon is ruthless in his ambition for power.
of the Rhine enabled Napoleon to dispose of even more troops.74 On top of all that there was the strategic blunder represented by the Prussian ultimatum at this particular point in time. It was bad enough that the Russians were still far away and would take months to march enough troops into the field of operations, but Prussia had acted too soon. French troops were still stationed in the south of Germany from the campaign the previous year. Declaring war while the French were still in Germany
arrived, entering Galicia on 3 June 1809, they did everything in their power to avoid confronting the Austrians.58 In fact, Alexander had already secretly informed Austria that he would not attack them. His behaviour was indicative of how onerous he found the French alliance, but it also made a profound impression on Napoleon, to the point where, ‘wounded’, he no longer believed in his Russian ally.59 Relations between the two nevertheless had to appear normal even if behind the scenes mistrust
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accompanied by both Glory and Humanity to bring light and life.113 The failure of the Syrian expedition was thus transformed through Bonaparte’s glamorous gesture into a victory, of sorts.114 This painting is not only another element in the construction of the Napoleonic legend, it was meant to provide an alternative vision to the rumours about Bonaparte’s order to poison plague victims at Jaffa.115 This rumour reached France through the returning army,116 as well as appearing in the clandestine
more. Some had been there since six o’clock, so guests had to go in and out of the cathedral, to relieve themselves, to buy food and drink. Guests brought back with them bread, brioches, sausages and chocolate and munched away; no one was the slightest bit offended.35 Others chatted, and could not have been more bored. The sermon, given by Monsignor Boisgelin, who had spoken at the coronation of Louis XVI, was a long homily. There was so much talking and laughing going on that he was drowned out.