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Napoleon, War Chief (Napoleon, chef de guerre)



Original Language: French | approx. 400 pp. | October 2012

Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Icelandic, and English (USA & Canada) Rights.

Depending on the publisher and the quality of the translation, translations from the French can be funded by the Centre national du livre in Paris.


In this unprecedented work, the incomparably sourced storyteller, Jean Tulard explores with panache and for the first time Napoleon’s genius, his charismatic relationship with his officers and the rank and file alike, the working of the Grande Armée, and all questions in between.

This biographical portrait of Napoleon as a man of war was missing from Tulard’s canon. The Emperor Napoleon fought more battles than Alexander the Great, Hannibal and Julius Caesar combined. The geographical range is also revealing; Napoleon’s campaigns took him to from Spain to Russia, through Germany, northern Italy and the mouth of the Danube not forgetting Egypt and Syria. From his first campaign in Italy in 1796, he showed his array of military skills. Jean Tulard, widely recognized as the finest Napoleon historian currently writing, returns to his specialist subject with the question hanging in the background; was Napoleon really the greatest soldier in history?

His strongest card: He knew how to command and surrounded himself with the best officers. Because he lived, marched and camped with them he was respected and admired by his men. He succeeded is creating and fostering an almost mystical link with the old guard, the veterans. He knew how to find the words (propaganda) to re-energize a starving, ragged and sometimes demoralized army.

But Napoleon needed more than just charisma to conquer two thirds of Europe, he also made use of an exceptional strategy. He developed the art of being able to second-guess what the enemy was going to do and predict its movements, he took advantage of the slightest error and at times he risked changing strategy like on the eve of the battle of Austerlitz.