Cover: Napoleon: A Political Life, from Harvard University PressCover: Napoleon in PAPERBACK


A Political Life

Add to Cart

Product Details


$32.00 • £25.95 • €29.00

ISBN 9780674018037

Publication Date: 04/30/2005


600 pages

6 x 9 inches

14 halftones


Englund’s book feature[s] brilliantly pyrotechnic prose and a keen appreciation of Napoleon’s political instincts.—David A. Bell, The Nation [05/27/15]

Englund has written a most distinguished book recounting Bonaparte’s life with clarity and ease… This magnificent book tells us much that we did not know and gives us a great deal to think about.—Douglas Johnson, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

Englund, in his lively biography…seeks less to rehabilitate Napoleon’s reputation and legacy than to provide readers with a fuller view of the man and his actions.—Paula Friedman, The New York Times

Napoleon: A Political Life is a veritable tour de force: the general reader will enjoy it immensely, and learn a great deal from it. But the book also has much to offer historians of modern France.—Sudhir Hazareesingh, The Times Literary Supplement

Englund’s incisive forays into political theory don’t diminish the force of his narrative, which impressively conveys the epochal changes confronting both France and Europe… A strikingly argued biography.—Matthew Price, The Washington Post

Englund’s luminous prose, and, yes, his romanticism, allow him to appreciate a quality that was central to Napoleonic experience, but which has virtually disappeared from contemporary political life, namely, grandeur… By far the best biography currently available.—David A. Bell, The New Republic

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) has inspired countless films, plays and books—five biographies since 1997 alone. This one is a marvelous read, all 575 pages of it, even if you’re not a historian. As a political biography, it looks at the man’s motives rather than at the details of his battles… This is a sophisticated, often witty biography. Englund sweeps across a brilliantly crowded canvas with clarity and dash, and he enriches his own fine writing with Napoleon’s pithy aphorisms and the tart remarks of his contemporaries.—Barbara Black, The Montreal Gazette

It is Napoleon’s politics, not explicitly his battles, that interest this biographer, who subtitles his study A Political Life… His is no narrow study of how those in politics operate, hang on to power, or scratch each others’ backs… All things considered, this is the best of the recent crop of Napoleonic biographies.—David P. Jordan, Journal of Modern History

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, by Bruno Latour, translated by Catherine Porter, from Harvard University Press

Honoring Latour

In awarding Bruno Latour the 2021 Kyoto Prize for Arts and Philosophy, the Inamori Foundation said he has “revolutionized the conventional view of science” and “his philosophy re-examines ‘modernity’ based on the dualism of nature and society.” Below is an excerpt from An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns. For more than twenty years, scientific and technological controversies have proliferated in number and scope, eventually reaching the climate itself. Since geologists are beginning to use the term “Anthropocene” to designate the era of Earth’s history that follows the Holocene