17 Best Books About Napoleon Update 05/2022

In this question, “What are the best books about Napoleon Bonaparte and the Napoleonic Wars?” We looked at 259 of the best Napoleon books, grouped them together, and ranked them so we could answer that very question! They’re ranked by how many “Best Napoleon” lists they’re on. There are still more than 200 books, as well as lists we used, at the bottom of the page.

Happy scrolling, everyone!

Top Napoleon Bonaparte Books

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars by Digby Smith

This book brings a very important time in European history to life by describing the battles, campaigns, and skirmishes of the war, as well as the political victories and defeats of the people who were fighting.

Armies of the Napoleonic Wars: An illustrated history by Chris McNab

There were almost two decades of bloody battles in the Napoleonic Wars. They took place in places like Russia and Egypt, as well as on the peninsula and at Waterloo. Over the course of the wars, Napoleon led his Grand Armée and his allies against almost every country in Europe, as well as against different coalitions. Here, you can learn about all the major armies of Napoleon’s wars, like France’s army and Britain’s army. This book also talks about the armies of Austria, Prussia, Spain, and Portugal. The author talks about how the armies changed over time, and he or she talks about the organization, infantry, cavalry, and artillery of each. Images of the uniforms that soldiers wore in battle, as well as illustrations and photos, make this a beautiful and in-depth look at how these armies fought in the Napoleonic wars.

 Austerlitz 1805 by Christopher Duffy

The book is based on original manuscripts in Austrian and British archives, as well as recently published Russian documents. It gives a detailed account of the battle that led to Napoleon’s Grande Armee winning a big victory.

Citizen Emperor: Napoleon in Power by Philip G. Dwyer

When Napoleon, now 30, took over the French government after the 1799 coup, Philip Dwyer wrote an authoritative biography of him. Dwyer looks at the young leader’s time in office, which is full of mistakes, wrong turns, and pitfalls. He also shows how far Napoleon goes to make himself look like a legitimate and patriarchal ruler of the new country. Napoleon hides his defeats, exaggerates his victories, and never hesitates to blame others for his own mistakes. He is ruthless in his desire for power. From Paris to Italy and Austria, the book looks at Napoleon’s campaigns, as well as how he was as a person. Finally, it looks at the war against the Sixth Coalition, which ended Napoleon’s reign in Europe. Dwyer shows Napoleon’s darker sides, like his brooding obsessions and violent tendencies. He also shows how passionate he was, like how he loved, how he could inspire, and how he could make his visions come true. How Napoleon used his persuasive skills and forward-thinking ideas to make himself a legend that still lives on today is one of the things the author talks about in an insightful look at the first truly modern politician.

How Far From Austerlitz? Napoleon 1805 – 1815 by Alistair Horne

The Battle of Austerlitz was Napoleon’s most important victory. It was also the start of his fall. In this book, historian Alistair Horne does a great job of telling the story of Napoleon’s rise and fall. He draws comparisons to other great leaders of the modern era.

Napoleon by Felix Markham

A brilliant account of Napoleon’s life and legend written by a well-known Oxford scholar.

Napoleon Bonaparte by Alan Schom

This book is the definitive biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, from his birth in Corsica to his death in exile on St Helena. It looks at everything from Bonaparte′s spectacular rise to power and his dizzying fall. It looks very closely at battlefield victories, personal pain, military genius, Napoleon Bonaparte’s huge ego, and his relationships with the French government, Talleyrand, Wellington, and Josephine. A very good biography of a very complicated person.

Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern

In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, who was only twenty-eight at the time, led the most daring military campaign of his already impressive life. When he left for Egypt, he had 335 ships and 40,000 soldiers. He had a group of scholars, artists, scientists, and inventors with him. Like everything Napoleon ever did, this plan was full of unrelenting ambition, heroic romanticism, and a little bit of crazy.

Napoleon thought he was a hero because he freed the Egyptians from the oppression of their Mameluke overlords. Napoleon, on the other hand, thought that his troops would be welcomed as heroes. He tragically misunderstood Muslim culture and overestimated the “gratitude” he could expect from the people he came to save. It would be a battle of attrition for Napoleon and his men instead. They would fight an army of Muslims led by the feared Murad Bey, who would be their enemy. Mirages, suicides, and the threat of being ambushed would plague them as they marched across seemingly endless deserts in the shadow of the pyramids. They’d also be pushed to the limit of human endurance. A crusade that was started with honor and meant to be a show of strength would turn into chaos and atrocities.

Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern

A historian-reporter called Castelot is following the life of Napoleon step by step. These words: This great biography is the most accurate picture of this important and controversial person in history that has ever been written. There are many different ways that the author shows how this person is both a man and a politician and revolutionary.

Napoleon: The Path to Power by Philip G. Dwyer

Napoleon Bonaparte was just 30 years old when he was in charge of the most powerful country in Europe. But the journey he took to get there was not a sure thing or easy. This well-known biography focuses on Napoleon’s development as a leader and debunks many of the myths that are often repeated about him. Many of these myths were spread by Napoleon himself. New information about Napoleon’s dark side and passions is revealed in this book by Philip Dwyer. He shows a ruthless, manipulative, and driven man who has been hidden by the public image he carefully created to serve his goals.

Napoleon: The Path to Power by Philip G. Dwyer

Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, as well as a lot of smaller countries, started a series of committee meetings in Vienna. It was an eight-month-long carnival that mixed political talks with balls, dinners, art shows, hunts, tournaments, picnics, and other fun things for the aristocrats who came to Vienna. Even though the Congress of Vienna led to a new level of stability in Europe, the price of peace would be high. Many of the most important decisions were made on the battlefield or in squalid roadside cottages in the middle of war. And the events in Vienna were not as classy as they are usually shown to be.

Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814 by Dominic Lieven

Napoleon, the ruler of Europe at the time, marched into Russia in the summer of 1812 with the largest army ever assembled. He was sure that he would sweep everything in his path, and he did. As time went on, his empire crumbled, and Russia took the lead over the world. History: This is the first book to look at Russia’s role in the Napoleonic Wars in great detail. It shows how Russia played a big part in the battle between two empires that was never seen before. With great panache and insight, Dominic Lieven writes about how the Russians went from being defeated to becoming the new liberators of Europe. The consequences couldn’t have been more important, and they could not have been more important. In the end, this book shows how Russia began to play a strange, central role in Europe’s existence, as both a threat and a protector. This role will continue into our own lives.

Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814 by Dominic Lieven

When the Peninsular War turned in favor of the British, the Spaniards, and the Portuguese, it was 1812. Allied armies under Wellington won many victories over the French. This is the subject of Peter Edwards’s new book, which is a lot of fun to read! A series of raids in Estramadura by Wellington started the year off right. They were meant to keep the French from paying attention to the preparations for an attack on Ciudad Rodrigo, which was taken in late-January. There came the capture of Badajoz and the advance on Salamanca. Salamanca was taken after a ten-day siege. In the Battle of Salamanca, which took place on 22 July, some 50,000 French troops fought against about the same number of allies. Wellington used the ground to his advantage and won a crushing victory, killing more than 14,000 French soldiers. As the year went on, Wellington’s troops kept moving toward victory in the Iberian Peninsula. There was a setback at Burgos later in the year. Peter Edwards uses a wide range of sources to make this important year in the Peninsular War come to life in his book. His work is very interesting because it shows how the strategy, the command decisions, and the experience of combat were 200 years ago.

Swords around a Throne: Napoleon’s Grande Armee by John R. Elting

This is an authoritative, comprehensive, and enthralling book about Napoleon’s most powerful weapon, the Grande Armée, which at its peak had more than a million soldiers. Every part of this human machine is looked at by Elting: its organization, command system, logistics, weapons, tactics, discipline, recreation, mobile hospitals, camp followers, and more. From the time the army was formed in the midst of the chaos of the French Revolution to its legendary death at Waterloo, this book uses excerpts from soldiers’ letters, eyewitness accounts, and many first-hand details to put the reader in the shoes of Napoleon’s conscripts and generals. In the hands of a master like Elting, the experience is truly unforgettable.

Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon by Rory Muir

In what ways was it like to be a soldier on a battle field during the Napoleonic Wars? When two cavalry regiments charged right at each other, what happened next? Do you know how the generals helped their troops during the fight? This book is based on memoirs, diaries, and letters that were written at the time. It looks at what happened in battle and how people’s feelings and reactions affected the outcome. When Rory Muir talks about Napoleon, he talks about the people who were there. He talks about the frightened soldier, the general in charge, the young cavalry officer who couldn’t ride because he had boils, and the smartly dressed aide-de-camp who was tripped up by his pantaloons.

The Age of Napoleon by Will Durant

In this book, you’ll learn about European life, politics, arts, science, philosophy, economics, manners, and morals in the era.

The Age of Napoleon by Will Durant

At Waterloo, some 70,000 men under Napoleon and the same number under Wellington fought each other in a huge and bloody battle. People thought Napoleon’s defeat had “”turned the tide of European history.”” Even 190 years later, the name Waterloo is still heard.

Italian historian Alessandro Barbero has written a magnificent new book that is very different from the British and French histories that have come before it. It gives voices to all the people who took part in the war. People who were there remember what happened. Barbero painstakingly retells how the battle unfolded, from General Reille’s early afternoon attack on the chateau of Hougoumont, to Napoleon’s Imperial Guard’s desperate last charge as night fell. From privates to generals, Barbero tells about individual miracles and tragedies, moments of courage and foolishness, and how they fit into the larger story of the battle’s extraordinary ebb and flow. One can’t forget the images: cavalry charges against soldiers in squares; the hand-to-hand fight around farmhouses; the smoke and cannon balls that fill the air. Finally, a strong sense of how war is both inevitable and pointless.

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