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The best books on Napoleon

recommended by Andrew Roberts

Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts

Napoleon: A Life
by Andrew Roberts

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How did Napoleon Bonaparte, an upstart Corsican, go on to conquer half of Europe in the 16 years of his rule? Was he a military genius? And was he really that short? Historian Andrew Roberts, author of a bestselling biography of Napoleon, introduces us to the books that shaped how he sees l'Empereur—including little-known sources from those who knew Napoleon personally.

Interview by Charles J. Styles

Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts

Napoleon: A Life
by Andrew Roberts

Read

If you were to explain the significance of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) to someone who knew nothing about him, what would you say?

I’d set aside his military achievements—conquering half of Europe in the 16 years of his rule between 1799 and 1815—as all of those had completely disappeared by the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Instead, I’d concentrate on those aspects of his rule that can still be seen in France and in much of Western Europe today.

I argue that although he didn’t have much to do with the French Revolution itself, as he was too young, he nonetheless kept the best bits of the Revolution—equality before the law, religious tolerance, meritocracy—for France and the countries that France conquered. The Code Napoleon was still in effect in the Rhineland until 1900, for example, and it underlines modern European legal systems to this day.

He got rid of the worst bits, like the mass guillotining, the Reign of Terror, the various mad ideas they had like the ten-day week, abolishing Christianity, and so on. He was the person who brought France into the 19th century with huge reforms of administration and finance. He was a moderniser.

You mentioned his relationship with the Revolution. I think there’s something paradoxical about it. He’d declare things like “I am the Revolution”, and the Napoleonic Code did enshrine revolutionary principles like civic equality into law. But didn’t he also curtail the rights of women and reinstate slavery in the Caribbean sugar colonies? Some would argue that the main constitution itself was structurally undemocratic, with an unelected senate, even if it was put to the people in a plebiscite.

The Code Napoleon was not good for women, but then they were hardly over-endowed with rights before the Revolution. He went on to abolish slavery, of course, not once but twice. He did reinstitute it in 1802, but abolished it again in 1814. So, he had an in-out/in-out policy with slavery. When I say a ‘moderniser’, I mean a moderniser in the context of the times, not a moderniser in the context of Tony Blair.

Joining the dots between the French Revolution and Napoleon’s ascendency, how did France go from establishing a Republic and executing their king to welcoming an emperor barely a decade later?

I think his military successes first in Italy in 1796 and also in 1800 as well as his creation of the civil code were essential to understanding how they able to recognise that he wasn’t a king. Being an emperor and being a king were very different things. They were perfectly happy to have an empire, which they saw as being based on republican principles, with a Napoleon rather than Bourbon at the top of the tree.

So, there wasn’t any lingering republican resistance?

No, there was—especially in the army. The French army was considered to be highly republican. There was resistance from people like Marshal Bernadotte to Napoleon calling himself an emperor in December 1804. But it was not unpopular in the rest of the country.

I really enjoyed your own biography of Napoleon, which was awarded the Grand Prix of the Fondation Napoléon. It’s an excellent read and continues to be an international bestseller in both UK and US editions. It was also one of the first books to build upon the publication of some 33,000 of Napoleon’s letters. I’m curious to know what you found to be the most striking revelations from them. Did they overturn any major myths?

There are still dozens of myths and misconceptions about Napoleon. But what I came across most powerfully among the letters was his capacity for compartmentalising his mind. He could completely ignore what was happening at the time, even during or after battles or when the Kremlin was burning, and concentrate on running parts of his empire, or on setting up the rules of a girls’ school, or on telling a prefect that he shouldn’t be seen at the opera with his mistress. He had this incredible capacity for, as he put it, pulling out a drawer in his mind, dealing with whatever was in it, and then closing it again.

If we’re talking about myths, I suppose the main one to get out of the way is his height!

Yes, he was the average height of a Frenchman of the day. He was not small. The way in which he was portrayed by Gillray and Rowlandson and the other British caricaturists of the day was to make him look small for political reasons. He was precisely my height, actually; he was five feet, six inches. The French inch is ever so slightly different from the English inch, which was another reason why he was thought to be small. But when his corpse was measured by however many doctors there were, it was recognised that he was a perfectly normal, average height.

Your first book choice is The Campaigns of Napoleon by David Chandler. Can you tell us about this one and why you’ve recommended it?

It’s a totally comprehensive history of all of Napoleon’s campaigns. Chandler wrote it, I think, in the late 60s, and yet it still holds up very well as an overall history of Napoleon’s fighting. Perfectly understandably, it doesn’t include everything else about Napoleon—the politics, the personality, the 27 mistresses and all the rest of it—nor is it intending to do that. It’s just doing the military side of it all. But it is an absolutely encyclopaedic run-through of all of Napoleon’s battles.

So, this is a must-have for military history buffs?

It is indeed. David Chandler reissued it several times and updated it with the latest thought on Napoleon’s battles. If there was something new said on the Battle of Austerlitz or something like that, he would then reissue the book with that new information in it. So, you want to buy the last iteration of it before David died.

Napoleon is often labelled a “military genius”. Notwithstanding his ultimate defeat, what is the best way to support that judgement?

I think the fact that he was able to fight so many different kinds of battles. The reason that he’s a genius is that he managed to win battles whether he outnumbered the enemy or was outnumbered by the enemy, whether he was moving forwards or backwards, whether or not he was having his right or left flank enveloped, or whether he was enveloping the enemies. Or sometimes he could do a double-envelopment, which is one of the most difficult manoeuvres in warfare. He managed to pull that off.

“It is an absolutely encyclopaedic run through of all of Napoleon’s battles”

Napoleon had equal dexterity when it came to commanding infantry, cavalry, and artillery, even though he was himself educated as an artilleryman. He’s also extremely good in coalition warfare—in striking at the hinge between his enemies but also keeping his own coalitions in order. His invasion of Russia involved something like 20 countries. You have, therefore, a commander who is incredibly dextrous and capable of adapting to whatever military circumstance he’s facing.

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In terms of his military weaknesses, we undoubtedly have naval warfare, but he also had difficulty with guerrilla insurgencies in the Peninsular War.

That’s right and, of course, the guerrilla insurgencies in the Russian campaign as well. He was no good at sea. At all. He just didn’t understand how ships worked. That was a huge lacuna in his capacity and his knowledge. As is what we now call “asymmetrical warfare”, where the enemy doesn’t actually put up an army in the field.

Would you say Napoleon was deluded about his own naval capabilities?

Yes. He didn’t recognise that he was rubbish at sea at all. He thought that you could tell an admiral to do things at sea in much the same way that you could tell a general to do things on land. But, of course, the whole process is very very different—not least because of the wind!

There were various points in your book where Napoleon is still trying to fund naval expansion and is putting men out in ships for warfare despite them never having been at sea before.

That’s right. To give him his due, though, he was up against the Royal Navy which was at the peak of its efficiency. Britain was putting one third of its national spend into the navy. With admirals like the Earl of St Vincent and Collingwood and obviously Nelson, they had endless extremely talented admirals and an extremely can-do attitude towards maritime fighting in the period of fighting sail. Napoleon was really up against an absolutely superb organisation in the Royal Navy. One has to give him his due, but there are no Napoleonic naval victories.

The Napoleonic Wars are very complex and involve coalitions taking on Napoleon at different points. How much can we say with generality about what provoked them?

Here was somebody who was a profoundly radical force that each of these legitimist monarchies like the Hapsburgs of Austria and the Romanovs of Russia and the Hohenzollerns of Prussia were extremely nervous about. They saw what had happened to the Bourbons in France, and they didn’t want it to happen at home. So, this cold wind of modernisation that Napoleon unleashed on Europe was something that they were very keen to try to . . . whatever you do to a wind. That’s the reason.

So, he has inherited international hostility already because of the Revolution?

That’s right, yes. But also, they didn’t see him as a legitimate monarch. There were no ‘Bonapartes’ before him. His statement that he wanted to be the Rudolf of his dynasty, i.e. the founding father like Rudolf Hapsburg had been, was seen to be impossibly pretentious—not least because Rudolf came from the 13th century and they were in the 18th century.

There are two cases of Napoleon launching an offensive war. The rest of the time, people are declaring war on him. So, would you say this image of Napoleon stomping across Europe, declaring war on everybody, annexing their territory and so on, is completely wrong?

Yes, completely wrong. He started the Peninsular War and he started the 1812 Russian campaign. Other than that, each of the wars was started by the coalitions against him.

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And the cases where Napoleon does initiate a war seem largely to do with enforcing the ‘Continental System’—his attempt to weaken Britain economically by blocking trade—rather than building an empire for empire’s sake.

Precisely, yes. He didn’t believe in empire for empire’s sake; he recognised that he could overstretch French resources very dangerously and very easily. But he did want to try to force England to the negotiating table. The way he thought he could do that was to hit us in our pocket and try to cut us off from all European markets.

That’s why he invaded Portugal, which was unwilling to take part in the Continental System—being a very old ally of England’s, going back to 1383—and it’s also why, ultimately, he invaded Russia after the tsar ripped up the Tilsit agreement and started trading openly with Britain. It’s a fascinating thing that, as you say, the two aggressive wars that Napoleon started began for mercantile protectionist reasons. It was to try to force the merchants of London to put pressure on the Whig and Tory governments to make peace with him.

But the problem with enforcing this policy of economic strangulation against the Brits was their sea power.

Exactly. When you can land anywhere at all, when you can set up various places off the coast of Italy and off the coast of Germany which are effectively massive freebooting piracy operations of free-trade in everything, it’s just something that is not going to work. His attempt to stimulate local production and an industrial revolution in France was also something that never truly got off the ground.

Britain and France are continuously at war from 1803 onwards until Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, a period of war unmatched in any of the other coalitions. What do you think is the main motivation for why the Brits are so uncompromising?

That’s right. They had been at war since 1793; it was only the Peace of Amiens in 1802–1803 that interrupted that very long period from 1793–1815. And it’s the same reason that we’ve fought against Philip II of Spain or Louis XIV of France before, and then after that with the Kaiser and Hitler. You can’t have the European balance of power so badly hegemonized by one power that they’re able to control the channel ports, because that’s a constant invasion threat to us.

Let’s move on to your next book. This is Duff Cooper’s biography of the diplomat Talleyrand, whose political life encompasses the rise and fall of Napoleon and beyond.

Talleyrand had a totally extraordinary political life. He supported six different separate regimes in his career and, naturally, got a reputation for being a turncoat. Some people have argued, including Duff Cooper in this brilliant biography, that he did have some central messages that he believed all his life—like liberalism and an affection for the English-style constitution. But the key reason to read this book is that it’s literature as much as history. It’s a beautifully written evocation of an era that Duff Cooper, having been British ambassador to Paris, knew well and actually saw the last glimmers of.

It’s incredible that Talleyrand flees the Reign of Terror, goes to England and then to America, returns to France in 1796 and manages to become foreign minister within a year.

And stays foreign minister or in the diplomatic sphere in some way or another for the rest of his life. He thereby met almost all the important people in Europe and was at the table when all the great decisions were made. He was born an aristocrat and was later an unfrocked bishop. He had a lame foot rather like Byron and Goebbels which apparently turns you into a sex maniac; he turned his niece into his mistress which I think today would have him defenestrated but, nonetheless, no one seemed to hold that against him either.

What does the book tell us about the relation between Talleyrand and Napoleon? What are the main ways we can trace his influence on Napoleon as foreign minister or vice-elector?

It tells us that it was always rocky. Napoleon, quite rightly, didn’t trust him. Talleyrand was working especially with the Russians behind Napoleon’s back. Despite being extremely witty and obviously wonderful company, he was a dangerous person to have working for you. Talleyrand generally thought that France should be at peace and, of course, that’s very difficult when you’re the foreign minister of a conqueror.

I don’t see that you can call Napoleon a warmonger given that, as we’ve said, of the seven wars of the coalitions he only started two. But I think there was a legitimist jihad against him and against the French Revolution. And he had to fight those. But, overall, Talleyrand was someone who, as a good negotiator and a diplomat, wanted peace.

And was willing to betray Napoleon’s military secrets in the process?

He was willing to betray absolutely everybody in the process. It wasn’t just Napoleon; he betrayed five different regimes in the course of his life. I’m certain that had he lived any longer, he would have betrayed the July Monarchy as well.

It’s surprising that when Napoleon found out Talleyrand was selling military secrets to his enemies, he didn’t exile or execute him.

This is another reason to recognise that Napoleon is not a proto-Hitler in the way he’s been portrayed by many British historians. If he were a proto-Hitler, he would have shot Talleyrand and Fouché (his police minister) years before. Napoleon was a dictator politically, in that he dictated the laws of France and what happened. But I don’t think he has anything in common with the 20th-century dictators like Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, and Stalin.

But what about atrocities like executing thousands of prisoners of war in Jaffa, for instance?

When you say “for instance”, that implies that there were 20 or 30 Jaffas but there weren’t. There’s one at Jaffa and then, after that, in 1796 in Padua, Italy, he also let the troops run riot. But other than that, there just aren’t the mass executions. There aren’t the 40,000 people who died during the Reign of Terror, for example.

“Napoleon was a dictator politically in that he dictated the laws of France and what happened. But I don’t think he has anything in common with the 20th-century dictators”

I go into Jaffa in some detail in my book about how the men who he executed had earlier promised to fight against France. And then, six weeks later, they were captured fighting against France. According to the very harsh rules of law in the late eighteenth century, they forfeited their lives.

There’s a stereotype about Napoleon being indifferent to the immense human cost incurred by trying to establish French hegemony in Europe. Do you think this is misguided?

Yes, I think it’s hugely misguided. I think that commanders throughout history have had to harden their hearts to the inevitable losses made, but I don’t think he ever threw men into battle willy-nilly. He was one of the great commanders in history and one of the great soldiers of all time. Great soldiers don’t do that. And he was personally affected. There are times when he’s in tears in his tent after a battle, in the same way that Wellington was.

The idea of him being some cold-hearted unemotional figure profoundly misunderstands him, as does the idea of him being humourless. Throughout my book, there are something like 80 or 90 Napoleon jokes. He was constantly making humorous remarks that even 200 years later remain extremely funny.

I enjoyed the one where, in the midst of battle, an officer has his helmet thrown off by the impact of a cannonball, only for Napoleon to casually remark “It’s a good job you’re not any taller.”

That’s very good. There’s also the one with the cardinal archbishop of Paris who writes this oleaginous letter to him before the coronation. Napoleon makes a note on a piece of paper which says “please pay 12,000 francs to the archbishop out of the theatrical fund.”

Let’s move on to your third book. This is With Eagles to Glory: Napoleon and His German Allies in the 1809 Campaign by John H. Gill.

This is a tremendously detailed military history of the Danube campaign of 1809. This was a very important campaign because it knocked the Austrians out of the Napoleonic Wars for the third time. The only way for them to deal with Napoleon after that was for the archduchess Marie-Louise to marry Napoleon and try to bring him into the system like that. He fought a lightning campaign up the Danube, capturing Vienna, fighting battles such as Aspern-Essling and Wagram. This is Napoleon at his classic best. You can see him in this book just outmaneuvering the Austrian army again and again.

One of the distinctive things about this book is that it drew a lot of attention to the 30,000 German troops fighting on behalf of Napoleon.

Yes, this book is an important corrective to the idea that Napoleon’s forces were all French. They certainly weren’t. When Napoleon invaded Russia, only something like 55% of his army were French. He invaded Russia with 615,000 men which was the same size as Paris at the time. It’s very important to see the Napoleonic Wars as coalition wars, both on his side and against him. The book does lots of other things as well, but it certainly underlines that very important factor about Napoleon’s wars.

These soldiers were all supplied from the Confederation of the Rhine. Can you tell us about that and when it was established?

It was established at the time of the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in August 1806. After the Holy Roman Empire vaporised out of existence, it became Napoleon’s tool—his vehicle—for bringing together the north German states. He called himself the “Protector” of the Confederation. They stayed as such for nine years or so before it itself collapsed at the time of the 1813 campaign. The battles of Leipzig and Dresden were pretty much the death-knell for the Confederation of the Rhine.

I want to ask about military culture and attitudes towards Napoleon among soldiers from the client states. Presumably the German troops didn’t have the same patriotic fervour motivating them as French soldiers, but they weren’t indifferent either.

There’s a huge difference. Some of them some of the time are just as enthusiastic about Napoleon as the French. The Polish lancers, for example, believed that Napoleon was going to make Poland an independent state and give it its own sovereignty for the first time since it had been sliced up in the partitions. And so, they were incredibly excited about fighting for Napoleon. In fact, Napoleon is the only individual named in the Polish national anthem. That’s a good one for a pub quiz!

Whereas others, like the Westphalians and certainly the people who came from Hannover, whose actual legal head of state was George III, were an awfully lot less excited about being effectively pressganged into fighting for a foreign leader. So, you have this huge difference between people. And, of course, as well as changing from country to country, it changed from year to year and unit to unit. What Gill does very well in this book is to investigate that. 30,000 men is no small number.

Your last two books are written by people who had great proximity to Napoleon. Let’s look at Private Memoirs Of The Court Of Napoleon by Louis François Joseph Bausset-Roquefort. This seems a fairly unknown book.

Yes, it’s a very little-known book but an extremely interesting one. Bausset was Napoleon’s palace chamberlain who followed him around the campaigns and lived in his palaces. He knew the family very well indeed and wrote these memoirs even though it was dangerous to do that once the Bourbons had been restored. He was still an admirer of Napoleon and is the living personification of the untruth of the epithet that “no man is a hero to his valet.”

Bausset definitely did admire Napoleon—not blind hero-worship by any means, but he was somebody who saw Napoleon for what he was. This book explodes many of the myths about Napoleon being a vicious and unpleasant individual. Instead, he comes across as a good employer, a witty man, and someone who had normal human emotions.

I suppose it says a lot about a person when all of your personal servants are begging to go into exile with you.

Well, exactly. And not just any old exile. One could understand why they might have wanted to go to Elba, which is a perfectly nice, warm, pleasant place. One would go on holiday to Elba, but nobody would go on holiday to Saint Helena. This is a windswept, godforsaken, tiny, eight-by-ten-mile island plopped bang in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It takes six days by boat to get there from Cape Town, or at least it did before the airport came in. And a very boring journey it is too, I can tell you. And these 21 servants were basically fighting each other for the right to accompany into exile. It shows the charisma of the man.

You mentioned that Bausset goes with him on the campaigns, but what do we find out about Napoleon in a more domestic setting?

That he was a kind husband and a loving father. He was not the domestic monster that the Bourbon literature has been so keen to present him as; many books, I’m afraid, have taken it for granted to be true.

There are some quite eccentric arrangements in Napoleon’s imperial household as well. I’m thinking of his first wife Josephine’s menagerie.

Yes, having orangutans around at lunchtime, zebras in the fields, and black swans at Malmaison. That was her idea, of course, but he indulged it and paid for it. But having exotic animals at that time was very much a royal pursuit and it had been for years. I think Cosimo III de’ Medici had a hippopotamus or something along those lines. It was a way of proving your wealth and status to have unusual animals around. Josephine did actually dress the orangutan in a chemise and have it come to tea parties.

You mentioned that this was to flaunt wealth and status. Was that a slightly sore thing to do considering the tensions building up to the Revolution?

Napoleon saw it as part and parcel with being an emperor. He wanted to present a glorious image to the people, although, when it came to his domestic interests, he wasn’t flamboyant at all. He’d wear a colonel’s uniform most days and didn’t like to spend more than half an hour at lunch or dinner, which was very unusual for a French monarch. He was pretty ascetic; he never got drunk. He wasn’t constantly wearing those clothes that you see in the coronation painting by Ingres.

Let’s go on to your final choice. This is the Memoirs of General de Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza.

These are fascinating. Caulaincourt was the ambassador to Russia and was also Napoleon’s master of the horse. He was an aristocrat, born and bred. At least according to his memoirs, he was the person who informed Napoleon not to invade Russia. The memoirs were only published in 1935, and there’s no reason why he should have lied in them, owing to the fact that they were never going to be published in his lifetime.

Once he had warned Napoleon, he came with him and was the only person on the sledge that accompanied Napoleon back to France from the catastrophe of the 1812 campaign. It’s in his sledge that we get Napoleon saying “from the sublime to the ridiculous is just one small step.” The memoirs are immensely well-written, encapsulating and pretty crushing for Napoleon’s reputation with regard to the 1812 campaign.

So, it’s not a panegyric?

Not in the slightest. But equally it’s not a denunciation. Caulaincourt stayed with Napoleon up until the 1814 abdication and is a trustworthy source. He’s not anti-Napoleon. It seems that he kept scraps of paper that he used as his notes for this book. It’s a pretty fabulous and invaluable source for the period.

The Russia campaign is regarded as one of the worst defeats in military history. Can you give an outline of the factors that made it so catastrophic?

Napoleon went into Russia on June 21, 1812 with 615,000 men, and by the time he crossed the river Niemen back in the other direction in December, he had lost over half a million of those men. In that sense, you have to go back to the ancient world to see such an enormous military catastrophe.

“Napoleon went into Russia on 21 June 1812 with 615,000 men. By the time he crossed the river Niemen back in the other direction in December, he had lost over half a million of those men”

In a nutshell, the reason was that he was drawn further and further into Russia. He captured Moscow, something that Hitler never did, but he stayed there too long. He won a battle called Maloyaroslavets and decided the next day to retreat back via Borodino, which was a big battle that he’d won on 7 September. It turned out to be the wrong route back and his army was encompassed by blizzards. Although he won each of the formal engagements, the army was swallowed up by the snows of Russia. It’s a story of cannibalism and utter despair and disaster, with a few flashes of redemption such as the crossing of the Berezina river. Otherwise, it’s up there with Xenophon.

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We’ve mentioned it already, but it’s important to keep in mind that Napoleon wasn’t marching on Russia to try and annex it. He was trying to force Russia’s compliance with the Continental System.

Yes, he had no territorial desires. He had an army twice the size of the Russian one, and had defeated the Russians twice before. Napoleon only intended to fight on the outskirts; he only intended to go in 50 miles or so and wanted a three-week campaign. Instead, it turned out to be a six-month campaign and carried on for literally thousands of miles there and back. It’s a classic example of mission creep.

The Russians also pursued a scorched earth policy, rather like they did in 1941 and 1942, which meant that there was mass starvation. Napoleon lost 100,000 of the troops of his central thrust to typhus—a horrible disease where a louse will bury itself into your skin and then defecate in your skin and then die. You then die about four days later in immense pain. It’s a horrible way to go.

With armies in those days, everyone had lice. If the weather’s too cold for you to change your clothes more than once every six weeks or so, then you’re going to get lice. The soldiers all huddled together, very close to one another, because it was so cold outside. So, their lice jumped from one soldier to another. There wasn’t a single person, including the emperor, who didn’t have lice. They didn’t work out a cure for typhus until 1911; it wasn’t properly diagnosed until over a century later. It was, in every way, an absolute nightmare of a campaign.

It’s largely remembered for the merciless winter, but the immense heat of the summer advance was almost as damaging.

That killed a lot of horses. And, of course, it’s almost entirely a horse-and-bullock-drawn invasion. The heat and the thirst were appalling on the way into Russia, yes. It was biblical.

There are three more years before Waterloo in 1815 but, in your view, was the Russian campaign the turning point?

Yes. Up until 1811, Napoleon was the master of Europe. From December 1812 onwards, he was on the skids. You can’t lose half a million men and not expect your throne to topple.

But he went out fighting.

He did. The 1814 campaign involved small numbers of men but, nonetheless, he won four battles in five days there. He was back to his old form. These were significant, rather brilliant military victories. But, in the end, with the whole of Europe against him and invading, he was fought to a standstill and then very comprehensively defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

Just to end, what do you consider to be Napoleon’s greatest achievements that have endured?

I think the beauty of Paris is very largely down to him. He rebuilt Paris. We love going and taking our loved ones there and crossing the four bridges that he built and seeing the fountains and great buildings like the Madeleine Church. That’s a testament to him. He designed the Arc de Triomphe, but it was only built after his death. Although as an Englishman I prefer English common law, nonetheless the whole of French and European law is much more closely built on the Napoleonic Code than anything that had gone before, including Roman law. Napoleon is someone who every Frenchman should be proud of. Other things like the Légion d’honneur and the Conseil d’État are still around. In fact, the numbering of its houses in its streets from the Seine outwards is all down to him. There are also the reservoirs. Even 200 years after his death, it’s difficult to imagine Paris or France without the influence of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Interview by Charles J. Styles

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Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts is a British historian and journalist. He is a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King's College London, a Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a Lehrman Institute Distinguished Lecturer at the New York Historical Society. He has written or edited nineteen books—including internationally bestselling biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill—which have been translated into 23 languages.

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Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts is a British historian and journalist. He is a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King's College London, a Roger and Martha Mertz Visiting Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a Lehrman Institute Distinguished Lecturer at the New York Historical Society. He has written or edited nineteen books—including internationally bestselling biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill—which have been translated into 23 languages.