A short and vivid biography, which deconstructs the Napoleonic myth and reveals the reality of his rule.

‘Written with his customary verve and certainty’ Andrew Roberts, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Written with great wit and panache, this biography also has a serious purpose: to make us face up to the moral bankruptcy of Napoleon’s dictatorship.

Johnson tells the whole story: his astonishing gift for battle tactics and his complete control of propaganda. His audacious, hyperactive and aggressive leadership alongside his failure as an international statesman, as Europe grew to hate him. His marshals and ministers; his wives, mistresses. The mistakes he made; the escape from Elba, and the world-changing events leading up to Waterloo and the battle itself.

This riveting account is a fascinating look at one of the most notorious military leaders of all time.


It is lucidly written, and enlivened by personal details and well-chosen quotations
William Doyle, TLS
Written with his customary verve and certainty
Thoughtful and incisive