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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg

Nov 17, 2014

KGNU's Claudia Cragg speaks here with historian, Andrew Roberts about his work 'Napoleon The Great', the first one-volume biography to take advantage of the recent publication of Napoleon’s thirty-three thousand letters, which radically transform our understanding of his character and motivation. At last, says Roberts, we see him as he was: protean multitasker, decisive, surprisingly willing to forgive his enemies and his errant wife Josephine. Like Churchill, he understood the strategic importance of telling his own story, and his memoirs, dictated from exile on St. Helena, became the single bestselling book of the nineteenth century.

Austerlitz, Borodino, Waterloo: his battles are among the greatest in history, but Napoleon Bonaparte was far more than a military genius and astute leader of men. Like George Washington and his own hero Julius Caesar, Roberts argues that Napoleon was one of the greatest soldier-statesmen of all times.

An award-winning historian, Roberts traveled to fifty-three of Napoleon’s sixty battle sites, discovered crucial new documents in archives, and even made the long trip by boat to St. Helena. He is as acute in his understanding of politics as he is of military history. Many believe this to be a biography worthy of its subject: magisterial, insightful, beautifully written, by a foremost historian.