Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power was neither inevitable nor smooth; it was full of mistakes, wrong turns and pitfalls. During his formative years his identity was constantly shifting, his character ambiguous and his intentions often ill-defined. He was, however, highly ambitious, and it was this ruthless drive that advanced his career. This book examines the extraordinary evolution of Napoleon's character and the means by which at the age of thirty he became head of the most powerful country in Europe and skilfully fashioned the image of himself that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day.
Philip Dwyer studied in Perth (Australia), Berlin and Paris, where he was a student of France's pre-eminent Napoleonic scholar, Jean Tulard. He has published widely on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, and is Director of the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, Australia.