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Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte

Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne

Book Overview: 

The author and Napoleon become boyhood friends when they are eight years old in Corsica. They separate when Napoleon is transferred from the Military College of Brienne to another college in Paris in 1784. Napoleon has a stern or disdainful personality. He looks down on the French, who have taken over Corsica. At age 16 Napoleon finds fault with the military education, sending his recommendations to the Minister of War. Because of this speaking out, he is speedily graduated and sent to a regiment of artillery. After diplomatic travel, the author again meets Napoleon in Paris at a time when both are in dire financial straits. After witnessing an angry-mob scene, the author goes to Stuttgart as Secretary of Legation while Napoleon returns to Corsica. In 1799 the two return to Paris. The French government wants to send Napoleon to a new location as brigadier-general of infantry. he rejects the offer and is thus struck off the list of general officers. Eventually Napoleon gets command of Paris. In 1796 Napoleon marries Josephine. His attentions to her alternate between violent outrages resulting in infidelity and the other other extreme of repentant gentleness. During the Napoleonic wars Napoleon's troops progress through Europe--first Italy, then Austria.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .the two friends were to part, perhaps forever. Bonaparte was sincerely distressed at this separation, and the chief of his staff was informed of the fact. At a moment when it was supposed Berthier was on his way to Alexandria, he presented himself to the General-in-Chief. "You are, then, decidedly going to Asia?" said he.—"You know," replied the General, "that all is ready, and I shall set out in a few days."—"Well, I will not leave you. I voluntarily renounce all idea of returning to France. I could not endure to forsake you at a moment when you are going to encounter new dangers. Here are my instructions and my passport." Bonaparte, highly pleased with this resolution, embraced Berthier; and the coolness which had been excited by his request to return home was succeeded by a sincere reconciliation.

Louis Bonaparte, who was suffering from the effects of the voyage, was still at Alexandria. The Gene. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Not quite the type of granular details I was expecting, but I did appreciate those that were given. Also, this was written with a great narrative sense.

Totally awesome!

nice work. rise and fall was clearly expressed in the book. excellent history suitable for young generations.

Great book for someone who stalks dead people - I mean someone who's a bit of a historian.

Lovely if rather monumental work worth reading alongside a more distant biography of Napoleon, as Bourrienne's perspective is very clearly his own. The vignettes in this work are often fantastic and draw attention to lesser-known events of Napoleon's life and reigns, such as the "infernal device" (a