Napoleon The Man

Gemma Betros asks what kind of person Napoleon really was.

Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor, by François Baron Gérard, c.1805.If we consider why, almost two centuries after his death, we are still so interested in Napoleon Bonaparte’s great feats, and in his equally great downfall, part of the answer must lie in his personality. What was it about his character that drove him from the distant island of Corsica to the centre of power in Paris? What in his nature enabled him to seize power in France and then project it across Europe? And why, despite defeat and despite the atrocities associated with his name, did his persona retain such a hold upon the imaginations of supporters and detractors alike?

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