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


A Political Life

Product Details


$32.00 • £27.95 • €29.95

ISBN 9780674018037

Publication Date: 04/30/2005


600 pages

6 x 9 inches

14 halftones


Add to Cart

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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

Awards & Accolades

  • Best Book on the First Empire by a Foreigner, Napoleon Foundation

Share This

Nihilistic Times: Thinking with Max Weber, by Wendy Brown, from Harvard University Press

Recent News

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

From Our Blog

The Burnout Challenge

On Burnout Today with Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter

In The Burnout Challenge, leading researchers of burnout Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter focus on what occurs when the conditions and requirements set by a workplace are out of sync with the needs of people who work there. These “mismatches,” ranging from work overload to value conflicts, cause both workers and workplaces to suffer