100 books like How Far From Austerlitz?

By Alistair Horne,

Here are 100 books that How Far From Austerlitz? fans have personally recommended if you like How Far From Austerlitz?. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Napoleon on Napoleon: An Autobiography of the Emperor

Gareth Williams Author Of Needing Napoleon

From my list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught about Napoleon for thirty years, having studied history at Cambridge. I’ve been fascinated by the Corsican outsider, who, thanks to the French Revolution, rose to dominate Europe, since I saw a china bust of him in his green Chasseurs uniform on my maternal grandparents’ sideboard. I always loved historical fiction and having retired into a locked-down world, I put my time on the Isle of Skye to good use and set about researching and writing the novel I had always said I would write. Re-reading old favourites and encountering new interpretations was a joy and certainly made compiling this list an enjoyable challenge!

Gareth's book list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head

Gareth Williams Why did Gareth love this book?

Where better to start trying to understand Napoleon than with his own words? If only it was that simple! In total, four of his companions took down Napoleon’s words but he died without editing them. Exiled on St Helena, Bonaparte was determined to counter what he saw as the gross distortions circulating in the English-speaking world. I delight in his confident vision, even after his ultimate defeat. This book gives us insights into his view on the nature of history, his assessment of generals through the ages, including a substantial section on himself, the key events in his career, and a set of final observations in which he attempts to rewrite history to his tastes. Not then a balanced piece of work but no less fascinating for all that. It taught me the importance of putting myself in a character’s shoes before I start writing.

By Somerset de Chair (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon on Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During his exile on St. Helena, Napoleon dictated memoirs, notes, letters and battle commentaries to the generals who shared his captivity. He then edited the material himself. The result is an account of Napoleon's life in his own words, from his childhood in Corsica to his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. Private concerns, such as feuds with his brothers and divorce from Josephine, are mixed with such matters of state as the rebellion of Toussaint-Louverture and the retreat from Moscow. In this edition, de Chair has incorporated much new material from three further volumes of notes and miscellanies dictated by…


Book cover of Napoleon: The Song Of Departure

Gareth Williams Author Of Needing Napoleon

From my list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught about Napoleon for thirty years, having studied history at Cambridge. I’ve been fascinated by the Corsican outsider, who, thanks to the French Revolution, rose to dominate Europe, since I saw a china bust of him in his green Chasseurs uniform on my maternal grandparents’ sideboard. I always loved historical fiction and having retired into a locked-down world, I put my time on the Isle of Skye to good use and set about researching and writing the novel I had always said I would write. Re-reading old favourites and encountering new interpretations was a joy and certainly made compiling this list an enjoyable challenge!

Gareth's book list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head

Gareth Williams Why did Gareth love this book?

This is a fine work of fiction that forms but the first installment of a four-book masterpiece. Max Gallo was a herculean figure in French post-war life. In this volume, he tells the story of Napoleon’s life from his birth in Corsica to the moment in 1799 when he topples the ineffective Directory. I love this book because the author puts us inside Napoleon’s head. We think his thoughts and savour his words. He has put the flesh on the bones of history, conjuring a sympathetic tyro at times plagued by doubts but also willing to take daunting risks. This book made me realise Napoleon was more than an icon or an ogre, an Emperor, or a military genius; he was an outsider, he endured bullying, and he felt the same gamut of emotions as we do. I never looked at historical figures in the same way again.

By Max Gallo, William Hobson (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 15 May 1779, the second son of a prominent but impecunious Corsican family arrives at the gates of a royal military school at Brienne in the east of France. Not yet 10 years old, he barely speaks French. A fierce patriot, even at such a young age, French for him is the language of the oppressor - in 1769 France robbed Corsica of the independence it had won from Genoa - and his schoolmates waste no time making fun of him, his accent, his Italian-sounding name, Napoleone Buonaparte . . .

Within 20 years this solitary child has become…


Book cover of The Road to Rivoli: Napoleon's First Campaign

Gareth Williams Author Of Needing Napoleon

From my list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught about Napoleon for thirty years, having studied history at Cambridge. I’ve been fascinated by the Corsican outsider, who, thanks to the French Revolution, rose to dominate Europe, since I saw a china bust of him in his green Chasseurs uniform on my maternal grandparents’ sideboard. I always loved historical fiction and having retired into a locked-down world, I put my time on the Isle of Skye to good use and set about researching and writing the novel I had always said I would write. Re-reading old favourites and encountering new interpretations was a joy and certainly made compiling this list an enjoyable challenge!

Gareth's book list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head

Gareth Williams Why did Gareth love this book?

This is a detailed and meticulously researched book focusing on Bonaparte’s first independent command. The Army of Italy is little more than an afterthought but he forges his rag-tag troops into a force that expels the Austrians from most of northern Italy. I loved the eye-witness accounts and the author’s ability to evaluate events such as those at the bridge over the Arcole. It became part of the Napoleonic legend, immortalised in Gros’ painting, that the young general was in the thick of the fighting but this has been denounced as blatant propaganda. We learn from Boycott-Brown that both things are true. Napoleon did expose himself to fierce enemy fire to rally his troops to the standard, although he did not make it to the bridge, and his men did not follow, forcing him to retreat. This is where I learnt to accept the notion that history is messy! 

By Martin Boycott-Brown,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Road to Rivoli as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1796 the 26-year-old Napoleon took command of the Army of Italy - a collection of some 45,000 ill-fed, poorly-clothed and disillusioned men. He had only ever participated in one campaign and had never been involved in a major battle, much less conducted one as the commander of an army. And yet within just two months he and his scarecrow army had knocked the Piedmontese out of the war, driven the Austrians half way across Italy and laid siege to the fortress of Mantua, the capture of which was essential for the control of northern Italy. Over…


Book cover of Napoleon Surrenders

Gareth Williams Author Of Needing Napoleon

From my list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head.

Why am I passionate about this?

I taught about Napoleon for thirty years, having studied history at Cambridge. I’ve been fascinated by the Corsican outsider, who, thanks to the French Revolution, rose to dominate Europe, since I saw a china bust of him in his green Chasseurs uniform on my maternal grandparents’ sideboard. I always loved historical fiction and having retired into a locked-down world, I put my time on the Isle of Skye to good use and set about researching and writing the novel I had always said I would write. Re-reading old favourites and encountering new interpretations was a joy and certainly made compiling this list an enjoyable challenge!

Gareth's book list on getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head

Gareth Williams Why did Gareth love this book?

As I fingered a copy of Napoleon Surrenders in a second-hand bookshop, a passing stranger said to me, "Read anything by Martineau, it’s all good, and that one is brilliant." Encouraged, I willingly paid £2 for my copy. Well, I have never spent so well! This detailed account whisks us from the evening after Waterloo to HMS Northumberland under sail for St Helena. Until I read this book, it was too easy to see Bonaparte’s story as over once he was defeated by the Duke of Wellington. But Martineau changed my mind. He crafts the story of those agonising months in which Napoleon has to say goodbye to his family, his soldiers, his home, and his country. He relinquishes his title for a second time and throws himself at the mercy of London. Martineau conjures the historical actors as real people confronting an impossible dilemma: what to do with Napoleon?

Book cover of Napoleon: The End of Glory

Michael Broers Author Of Napoleon: The Decline and Fall of an Empire: 1811-1821

From my list on Napoleon and an era that shook Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in Napoleon, although in what ways have shifted back and forth over time. His reforms shaped the Europe we live in today, as few other rulers have managed. To go to law, to buy and sell, to marry, be born, or divorce, all these actions belong to his Civil Code. That is why I took up the study of his regime and its work as a professional historian. His myth, his exploits, gripped me as a boy, and still do. So spectacular a rise and fall do not happen by chance. There was no one like him.

Michael's book list on Napoleon and an era that shook Europe

Michael Broers Why did Michael love this book?

The accomplished historian of France across the years of Revolution, Empire and Restoration, Munro Price brings all his arsenal of erudition, archival acumen, and intellectual insight to bear on the last crisis of the empire. His attention to detail, his sensitivity to character and motivation make for one of the most penetrating, illuminating accounts of the implosion of support for Napoleon among the French elites ever written. No non-French scholar had picked through the complex politics of late Napoleonic France with as much skill or precision. Price delivers all this in elegant prose, the sign of a subtle historian.

By Munro Price,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On April 20, 1814, after a dizzying series of battles, campaigns, and diplomatic intrigues, a defeated Napoleon Bonaparte made his farewell speech to the Old Guard in the courtyard of the Chateau de Fontainebleau and set off for exile on the island of Elba. Napoleonic legend asserts that the Emperor was brought down by foreign powers determined to destroy him and discredit his achievements, with the aid of highly placed domestic traitors. Others argue that once Napoleon's military defeats began in 1812, his fall became inevitable. But in fact, as Munro Price shows in this brilliant new book, Napoleon's fall…


Book cover of Fashion in the French Revolution

Christine Adams Author Of The Creation of the French Royal Mistress: From Agnès Sorel to Madame Du Barry

From my list on the beauty and the politics of fashion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child (and budding feminist), I inhaled historical fiction about queens and other formidable women. This led to my scholarly interest in female power and authority. Aristocratic women had meaningful political influence in Old Regime France through family networks and proximity to power. However, with the French Revolution of 1789, women’s exclusion from political power (and the vote) was made explicit. This led me to examine the tools women had to accumulate political and social capital, including beauty and the control of fashion. We need to take the intersection of beauty, fashion, and politics seriously to understand the operation of power in both history and the modern world. The books I chose privilege my own interest in eighteenth-century France, but have a broader significance. And they are all really fun to read!

Christine's book list on the beauty and the politics of fashion

Christine Adams Why did Christine love this book?

Ribeiro is the author of numerous books on beauty and fashion, but this is the one I always come back to. Here, she explicitly connects social and political trends to changes in dress, beginning in the 1780s to the rise of Napoleon. The analysis is straightforward and compelling, although she also acknowledges the nuance. It’s a terrific introduction to the political importance of fashion during a period when fashion could not have been more politically salient.

By Aileen Ribeiro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fashion in the French Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aileen Ribeiro's book explores the changes in dress during the French Revolution and links them with the rapidly shifting political climate. At a time of immense and violent change, clothing could sometimes be used to demonstrate either conformity or reaction to the prevailing situation. The author looks at the elaborate dress of French society and the court in the 1780s and the way in which plain clothing became identified with "democracy". The part played in the Revolution by the "sans-culottes" with their "bonnet rouge" and "pantalon", is explored, together with the role of militant women and the emergence of feminism.…


Book cover of Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny

Ambrogio A. Caiani Author Of To Kidnap a Pope: Napoleon and Pius VII

From my list on Napoleon, his rise to power, and his downfall.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Catholic Ireland in the 1980s and 1990s a time of rapid change just before the advent of the Celtic tiger. Experiencing such a transformative moment in the history of that island I became fascinated by revolution. With my Italian roots, I was always outward-looking and interested in just how interconnected European history can be. My work started with a book on the downward spiral of Louis XVI’s court in 1789-1792, but recently I became interested in how Napoleon exported the culture of the French Revolution wherever he went. Now I am preparing a book on Catholicism and the politics of religion during the age of revolutions 1700-1903.

Ambrogio's book list on Napoleon, his rise to power, and his downfall

Ambrogio A. Caiani Why did Ambrogio love this book?

Hailed by most reviewers as the definitive biography on Napoleon. It is written by the doyen of Napoleonic studies at Oxford. Based on the meticulous research and the recently completed new & expanded edition of Napoleon’s letters. Despite this, Broers wears his erudition lightly and has written a gripping and page-turning life story of the man who changed Europe beyond recognition. 

It is by far the most European biography ever written on the French Emperor. We all await volume 3 with great anticipation!

By Michael Broers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Napoleon Bonaparte: a man of intense emotion, iron self-discipline, acute intelligence and immeasurable energy. Michael Broers brings this remarkable man to life, from his dangerous Corsican roots to the epic battles of Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland. Here is the incredible story of how one man's sheer determination, ruthlessness and careful calculation drove France to conquer Europe.

This is the first volume of a revelatory new biography of the great ruler told with energy, style and brand new research. Here is the first life in which Napoleon speaks in his own uncensored voice - but not always as he wanted the…


Book cover of Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon's Grande Armée

William Nester Author Of Napoleon and the Art of Leadership: How a Flawed Genius Changed the History of Europe and the World

From my list on Napoleon and his era.

Why am I passionate about this?

Napoleon has fascinated William Nester since he was a boy. During a dozen years living in Europe, he visited most of Napoleon’s palaces and battlefields. For this biography, he carefully read all of Napoleon’s memoirs and 40,108 letters. His book captures Napoleon’s complexity, paradoxes, contradictions, accomplishments, catastrophes, and genius. William Nester, a Professor at the Department of Government and Politics, St. John’s University, New York, is the author of more than forty books. His book George Rogers Clark: I Glory in War won the Army Historical Foundation's best biography award, and Titan: The Art of British Power in the Age of Revolution and Napoleon, won the 2016 Arthur Goodzeit Book Award.

William's book list on Napoleon and his era

William Nester Why did William love this book?

John Elting’s Swords Around a Throne is the best exploration of Napoleon’s army including organization, logistics, strategy, tactics, uniforms, training, weapons, equipment, discipline, and recreation, written with insight, sympathy, and humor. The book reveals the continuities and changes from the Revolution to Waterloo. Elting enlivens this work with numerous vivid excerpts from journals and letters by those who actually made the history, from generals to privates.

By John R. Elting,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Swords Around a Throne as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This authoritative, comprehensive, and enthralling book describes and analyzes Napoleon's most powerful weapon,the Grande Armee which at its peak numbered over a million soldiers. Elting examines every facet of this incredibly complex human machine: its organization, command system, logistics, weapons, tactics, discipline, recreation, mobile hospitals, camp followers, and more. From the army's formation out of the turmoil of Revolutionary France through its swift conquests of vast territories across Europe to its legendary death at Waterloo, this book uses excerpts from soldiers' letters, eyewitness accounts, and numerous firsthand details to place the reader in the boots of Napoleon's conscripts and generals.…


Book cover of Napoleon's Wars: An International History

Lisa Chaplin Author Of The Tide Watchers

From my list on hidden histories on The Napoleonic Wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a very ordinary person. A history and literary nerd. A wife and mother. I don’t have any M.As or PhDs. I started teaching myself to write in 1991, and after joining the Romance Writers of America, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as Writing NSW (New South Wales), I had my first writing award, and first short story published in 1997. I got my first writing contract in 2000 (Silhouette Books, NY). I quit romance in 2012 to focus on historical fiction and YA, both of which I still love, and putting a little romance in there never hurts. I've given workshops and talks for the Historical Novel Societies of Australia and North America.

Lisa's book list on hidden histories on The Napoleonic Wars

Lisa Chaplin Why did Lisa love this book?

This compelling history goes “beyond the legend that Napoleon himself helped create, to form a new, genuinely international context for his military career.”

History is most often written by the victors, and real life is never so one-sided. Esdaile writes as though he lived Napoleon’s life, and shows that many times his decisions were made (or changed) because of acts, or provocation, by British diplomats or agents. The quote by Napoleon’s stepdaughter Hortense says it all: “Any man who becomes the sole head of a great country by means other than heredity can only maintain himself in power if he gives the nation either liberty or military glory – if he makes himself, in short, either a Washington or a conqueror...it was impossible for him to establish...an absolute power except by bemusing reason [and] by every three months presenting the French people with some new spectacle.” Esdaile brings this unspoken…

By Charles J. Esdaile,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Napoleon's Wars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A glorious?and conclusive?chronicle of the wars waged by one of the most polarizing figures in military history

Acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic as a new standard on the subject, this sweeping, boldly written history of the Napoleonic era reveals its central protagonist as a man driven by an insatiable desire for fame, and determined ?to push matters to extremes.? More than a myth-busting portrait of Napoleon, however, it offers a panoramic view of the armed conflicts that spread so quickly out of revolutionary France to countries as remote as Sweden and Egypt. As it expertly moves through conflicts…


Book cover of Secret Service: British Agents in France, 1792-1815

Lisa Chaplin Author Of The Tide Watchers

From my list on hidden histories on The Napoleonic Wars.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a very ordinary person. A history and literary nerd. A wife and mother. I don’t have any M.As or PhDs. I started teaching myself to write in 1991, and after joining the Romance Writers of America, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as Writing NSW (New South Wales), I had my first writing award, and first short story published in 1997. I got my first writing contract in 2000 (Silhouette Books, NY). I quit romance in 2012 to focus on historical fiction and YA, both of which I still love, and putting a little romance in there never hurts. I've given workshops and talks for the Historical Novel Societies of Australia and North America.

Lisa's book list on hidden histories on The Napoleonic Wars

Lisa Chaplin Why did Lisa love this book?

“A tour de force of research, an essential document for future students of the (Napoleonic Wars) subject.”

Sparrow, “an acknowledged authority on the beginnings of the British Secret Service” is a meticulous researcher, who goes deeply into the world of British and French espionage of the time, and what motivated them to act for or betray their countries. This absolute treasure was given to me by a writer friend. I’ve marked it to bits, with highlights, notes, and Post-Its everywhere. It’s a university course on the deeper facets of the Napoleonic Wars all on its own. Leaving aside heroism, she presents facts about the politics and spymasters, and what they had to do to win the war. This book was invaluable in bringing my own book to life, making characters less hero and more human.

By Elizabeth Sparrow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Secret Service as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Something rare in the study of a period or a subject: a genuinely substantial addition to knowledge, of a kind that will henceforth need to be taken fully into account in any study of the British conduct of the great French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. JOHN EHRMAN
A tour de force of research, an essential document for future students of the subject. JOHN LE CARRE
Elizabeth Sparrow traces the origins of the British secret service to the turbulent aftermath of the French revolution, when Pitt's government, concerned to forestall civil unrest in England, set uppolice surveillance to counteract immigration and…


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