The Life of Napoleon, Volume 5 (Unabridged) - William Hazlitt

The Life of Napoleon, Volume 5 (Unabridged)

By William Hazlitt

  • Release Date: 2016-11-04
  • Genre: History
  • © 2016 Freshwater Seas

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The Life of Napoleon, Volume 5 (Unabridg William Hazlitt

Summary : The Life of Napoleon, Volume 5 (Unabridged)

William Hazlitt is one of the foremost writers of the English language. His fame as a critic, essayist, and social commentator ranks with the likes of Samuel Johnson and George Orwell. He considered his justly famous Life of Napoleon his most important work.

In this, the fifth volume of the work, William Hazlitt takes us through Napoleon's fall from power. He shows us the situation in Europe at that time: England controlling the sea, and England, Austria, Russia, and Prussia massed on the borders of France, ready to consummate their 25-year struggle to restore the Bourbon monarchy. Nor were these the only enemies confronting Napoleon. Many of his own countrymen were ready to turn their backs on him now that his aura of invincibility was at an end, destroyed by the disastrous campaign in Russia and further defeats in Europe. Hazlitt brings us to the great climax of the tragedy, the battle of Waterloo, and then follows Napoleon as he casts himself on the mercy of the English and finds himself transported to St. Helena.

Hazlitt was a lifelong admirer of Napoleon and of the French Revolution, but his admiration was not blind. His analysis is both passionate and clear-sighted. At this stage in Napoleon's career, he focuses more on the great events, less on the man and his mind. It is an appropriate focus. At this stage in his life, Napoleon's whole existence was wrapped up in those great events; his personal life was submerged in them.

Hazlitt sometimes transcends and sometimes falls victim to the prevailing attitudes of his day. His thinking sometimes juxtaposes highly progressive ideas with casual bigotry. His text has been left as he wrote it; it is valuable to hear and remember that even great minds have held ideas we prefer to think we have overcome.

The Life of Napoleon was originally published in four volumes from 1828 to 1830, not long before Hazlitt's death. It was later republished in a limited edition of six volumes by the Grolier Society. This audiobook is based on that edition.

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