The book, the Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the books of Robert Asprey. It is a summary of the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, basically as a man and finally centers on his life as the king and the emperor of France. In this book however, Asprey tries so much to dwell on the military life of Bonaparte and thus avoids more issues on his child life. The author of this book tries so much to expound on the abilities and the achievements of this ruler. As a statesman, a husband, a lover and as a king, the author tries to bring the personality and character of Napoleon to be very successful and worth imitated. In this book, the author gives us how Bonaparte rose to power and his dramatic dealings with chaos. In his view on the emperors tactic on the expansion of the kingdom, he says that the there were so many marriages in the dynasties, he excelled in many military struggles and tried the best he cold in diplomatic negotiations to convince his citizens and the people beyond. He also tries to bring the fall of Bonaparte especially when the people, peasants marched against him in Paris and the case of enduring defeat especially at waterloo and when he finally his exile at St. Helena where he died in 1821. All these, the author concludes simply shows that Napoleon was not a saint but a human being and a sinner just like any other person a state that contradicts Napoleon’s views on his own status.
Napoleon had different vision of which he was his entire empire and even his world at large. He had the aspirations to lead a united Europe but this needed much killings since his aspirations were not in line with the socio-political mosaic of his time.
The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte
In this book, basically what have impressed me are the intellectuality and the passion that the writer tires to expose in the leadership of Bonaparte. Asprey in his view of Bonaparte’s life in the military is very sober. He says that the impact of Napoleon on the French army and the entire empire basically rely on his personality. This is due to the approach that Napoleon put into place i.e. he gave a psycho- biographic approach to the European, Corsican and the French society.
This proves to be true because, in the military failures and victories of Bonaparte, we see reflections and personality playing the central role and more especially when this is blended with what one would regard as the political come military prowess of the moment. It is these perceptions and personalities that Bonaparte had that made him regarded a military genius. The confidence of Napoleon is witnessed as early as when Bonaparte was in the military schools.(Asprey, 23)
In the period between 1796 and1815 when Napoleon dominated Europe as a military leader, we can witness the rational that were behind his victories and super achievements especially during early 1796 and early 1806. The author says that the way Napoleon handled his armies was tactful and this can be one of the credit to him as a military genius. Despite the fact that he did not introduce many reforms in the army where he was, he basically refined the existing art and thus proving to be more intellect that than other leaders.
Still on the intellectual ability of Napoleon as an excellent military officer, Asprey says that, Bonaparte could concentrate for very many hours. At the same time, his memory was also enormous and he argues that Napoleon could work for a maximum of three days continuously without rest. In his view, he says that a complete servant should be ready to spend some quantity time to reach a conclusion but the one for Bonaparte was a bit extraordinary. This is true, for Bonaparte to be regarded as one of the sup achievers in the military, we find that he was a bit different with the rest and this is one of the ways in which he was different. He was much dedicated to his work in that when it was necessary he could spend his maximum time which many could not do. He could as well further his concentration for all this time. This is also an indication that he was worth a leader and could not mislead his juniors knowingly. Even when he went to the battle of Dresden we are told that he stayed for two days without sleeping. From this we clearly get that people need such dedication to have outstanding quality as leaders. This is what is needed in any leader. This is dedication of the highest order
Asprey in handling the importance of Bonaparte’s intellectual ability and leadership says that he had some irresistible will and charm that could propel him to the heights he could reach. We find that this helped him a lot to settle at an early age in his carrier and even propel to the leadership ranks at a very tender age as early as 1796 when he was only twenty seven years old.. We also find that leadership is not only what we think we can do but what we think and believe in. what we can do should be done. This is why I concur with Asprey when he says that the personality of Napoleon had all round influenced his leadership style and the forces he had at large. This is what builds on our spirits and thus one of the cornerstones of either success or failure in life. This is the truth as far as am concerned about leadership and personality. Asprey says Napoleons desire and dedication and will was not only evidenced in the leadership and military arena alone but whatever he was convinced that he could achieve, for example he was dedicated that he was to get the lady Josephine and he finally he got her. It is said that because he valued Josephine so much and tried to put her before everything else, she was one of his drawbacks in his performance especially during the campaign for Italy i.e. 1796. (Asprey, 59)
Far from his will and vehement desire in whatever he set his mind to achieve, Bonaparte never failed to understand the importance of morale especially on modern warfare. He basically believed that morale is a three in one thing. That for every success or victory one must have morale which will help him or her to propel to the heights he or she wants and insisted that it is not the numbers that matters but the moral force that people had or could give towards fellow friends in the war. To me , I find this very encouraging and part of the best thing that forms to build on leadership of Bonaparte. As far as am concerned, leadership is too dynamic and needs deeper understanding as Napoleon did. It is argued that Napoleon was successful because of his obedience that was difficult to understand that made him be respected by fellow soldiers and rise to the ranks as I had earlier stated. It is also said that through this he inspired several people both French citizens and aliens alike basically with devotion and also fierce loyalty.
On contrary to what I find best in the Asprey presentation on Napoleon Bonaparte’s rein, I find that this book is not achieving its goal as it should and this is the worst thing that can take place. For instance if Asprey had the intention of telling about Napoleon Bonaparte then, he could have traced Bonaparte’s life and documented an entire and detailed information about him. I find it very awkward to eliminate the background of someone whom you consider successful at his later age and you don’t tell of his early life stories. By telling the early life stories people will be able to understand even what could have made him form such a strong character on leadership and also personality. What could have made him remain focused and even make him have such kind of dedication and unbound desire to succeed?(Asprey, 99)
The worst side of Asprey in his presentation comes in that he does not table Bonaparte’s France’s domestic policy. He could also have touched on Bonaparte’s philosophies and thus we could see the entire person being presented to us. When he decides to by pass such important parts of a person’s life how his work can reach the ultimate goal of understanding Bonaparte fully?
Worse still, Asprey fails in covering the military carrier of Napoleon well. In one of the most interesting stories in Napoleons life i.e. the crossing of river Danube in 1809 during the campaign for Austria has been covered yes but also in a shadowy manner. Does this give the real accounts of the military events in the life of Bonaparte if such important episodes are left out? If Asprey really concentrated on the military life of Napoleon then he could have noticed this. This I find very unsatisfying thus the worst since the initial goal of Asprey is to give detailed information on the life of Bonaparte.
He not only gave faint details on the crossing of river Danube but also the covering of the battle of Dresden has a lot of questions than answers to the readers.
Collectively, I find this confusing and falling short to achieve the chief purpose to present the full view of Napoleon as a total person. It thus fails to impress in that when the goal is not fully achieved then it means that there is more confusion on the reader’s side.
In a created matrix it is worth making note of the fact that, an analysis of the risks in a nutshell is that, it is an actual presentation of the deeply ill dominated society in a plain language will more appeal to easily raged emotions and mental aberrations than be educative which should be the prime purpose of literature ‘prima facie’
In this work of Robert Asprey, I basically dwelled on two things, his presentation on the leadership and the personality of Bonaparte as my best thing worth acknowledging and his failure to achieve the ultimate goal. In these I was able to get how far he (Asprey) builds on the character of Napoleon and the fact that he credits Napoleon’s achievements on his personality and intelligence. In the shortcomings of his presentation, I also noticed that Asprey, failed to acknowledge some of the fascinating events in the life of Bonaparte life thus failing in the overall achievement of his goal. When he fails to acknowledge that the crossing of river Danube, the Dresden battle, one of the major victories and the very last ones in the life of Napoleon then, I feel that there is shortage which bars the readers from getting to know everything that they should know concerning Bonaparte. He also deliberately avoids the early life of Bonaparte which acts as the cornerstone to character building to every individual. Failing in this simply implies that either this information is misleading of it is too brief to achieve the intended purpose. In utmost finality the most risk exude in the text is the authors genuine and honest enunciation of the presentation in a much more violent manner than it would actually be in a real situation whilst, the weakest risk is the authors inability to presentably have his piece of work with relish per se.
Asprey R. The Reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. Basic Books, New York, 2001.