An outstanding addition to the groaning bookshelves on one of the world’s most recognizable leaders.

NAPOLEON

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF AN EMPIRE: 1811-1821

Broers continues his run of satisfying books on Napoleon.

The relentless fascination with Napoleon and his empire continues to generate books, mostly biographies, and this is another fine entry by Broers, a professor of Western European history at Oxford. Controlling land that stretched from Rome to the Baltic, Napoleon had defeated continental rivals and established friendly relations with Russia, and his forces were having some success suppressing the gruesome Spanish rebellion. Fruitless efforts to cut off British trade finally made a painful impression when he placed Atlantic ports under military rule to suppress smuggling. “Napoleon always wanted war during this period of relative peace,” writes Broers, “just not the one he got in 1812.” His plan to invade Britain—this time with a proper navy—was derailed when Czar Alexander “opened Russian ports to neutral shipping in December 1810” and fended off bullying efforts to bring him into line. By summer 1811, Napoleon was determined to invade Russia. At this point, the text still has 500 pages to go, but few readers will complain as the author describes Napoleon’s preparations from a sullen French nation exasperated by massive taxes, mourning massive casualties, and oppressed by another round of brutally efficient conscription. The titanic army that trundled into Russia in June 1812 began shrinking long before meeting the enemy, led by a ruler Napoleon had consistently underestimated. Fans of War and Peace will learn that Tolstoy and Broers share a modest admiration for Alexander and a lower opinion of the emperor, although, having read all Napoleon’s correspondence, Broers’ opinion is more nuanced. After a gripping account of the Russian debacle, the author recounts Napoleon’s return to Paris. Returning without much of an army left, he wrung another fighting force from his exhausted nation and won several victories before he was forced to abdicate and retire to Elba, from which he returned to power, lost at Waterloo, and ended his life in humiliating exile.

An outstanding addition to the groaning bookshelves on one of the world’s most recognizable leaders.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63936-177-9

Page Count: 750

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

Bernstein and Woodward, the two Washington Post journalists who broke the Big Story, tell how they did it by old fashioned seat-of-the-pants reporting — in other words, lots of intuition and a thick stack of phone numbers. They've saved a few scoops for the occasion, the biggest being the name of their early inside source, the "sacrificial lamb" H**h Sl**n. But Washingtonians who talked will be most surprised by the admission that their rumored contacts in the FBI and elsewhere never existed; many who were telephoned for "confirmation" were revealing more than they realized. The real drama, and there's plenty of it, lies in the private-eye tactics employed by Bernstein and Woodward (they refer to themselves in the third person, strictly on a last name basis). The centerpiece of their own covert operation was an unnamed high government source they call Deep Throat, with whom Woodward arranged secret meetings by positioning the potted palm on his balcony and through codes scribbled in his morning newspaper. Woodward's wee hours meetings with Deep Throat in an underground parking garage are sheer cinema: we can just see Robert Redford (it has to be Robert Redford) watching warily for muggers and stubbing out endless cigarettes while Deep Throat spills the inside dope about the plumbers. Then too, they amass enough seamy detail to fascinate even the most avid Watergate wallower — what a drunken and abusive Mitchell threatened to do to Post publisher Katherine Graham's tit, and more on the Segretti connection — including the activities of a USC campus political group known as the Ratfuckers whose former members served as a recruiting pool for the Nixon White House. As the scandal goes public and out of their hands Bernstein and Woodward seem as stunned as the rest of us at where their search for the "head ratfucker" has led. You have to agree with what their City Editor Barry Sussman realized way back in the beginning — "We've never had a story like this. Just never."

Pub Date: June 18, 1974

ISBN: 0671894412

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1974

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