Napoleon: A Life
By Andrew Roberts
Viking, 2014. 926 pgs. Biography
Napoleon wrote a lot of letters. It is estimated he produced around 33,000 missives during his life. This new biography is the first to take advantage of the recent release of some of those letters. Roberts uses these new insights into Napoleon's life and thoughts to produce this single volume account of his life from the cradle to the grave.
This is not a biography for the faint of heart. It is long and it is full of military and political details. But it is still fairly readable and, at least as far as I could tell, a balanced depiction of a very complicated man. Roberts presents many aspects of Napoleon's life not just focusing on his imperial aspirations but also on his personal and family life. I'm not sure I would have ever been able to sit and read this tome, but I did enjoy listening to an audio version with the speed set to 1.5.