Week 4: Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Napoleon in Egypt
On July 2, 1798 Napoleon and his army arrived at Alexandria. This Egyptian campaign has always been vie as a waste of time and effort in Napoleon’s rise to power. But for Napoleon it was a necessary stop on the journey to becoming a world ruler. Napoleon always had imperial pretensions and extraordinary ideas of his own destiny. Egypt and Alexandria was part of the plan for one reason: Alexander. Napoleon saw himself as another Alexander; another Julius Caesar.
Napoleon: A Life,
From Library Journal: In this newest addition to the "Penguin Life" series, Johnson (The Birth of the Modern) produces an "unromantic," "skeptical," and "searching" study of a person who exercised power "only for a decade and a half" but whose "impact on the future lasted until nearly the end of the twentieth century." Characterizing Bonaparte primarily as an opportunist "trained by his own ambitions and experiences to take the fullest advantage of the power the Revolution had created," Johnson suggests that, by 1813, the emperor "did not understand that all had changed ... and events were about to deposit him ... on history's smoldering rubbish dump." Why another biography of Napoleon now? Johnson's answer is that the great evils of "Bonapartism" "the deification of force and war, the all-powerful centralized state, the use of cultural propaganda..., the marshaling of entire peoples in the pursuit of personal and ideological power came to hateful maturity only in the twentieth century." Thus, Napoleon's is a grandly cautionary life. Readers might wish to counterbalance Johnson's deliberately sparse outline of Bonaparte's amazing career by examining James M. Thompson's Napoleon Bonaparte: His Rise and Fall. But Johnson's antiromantic treatment brings into sharp focus the ills he identifies with "Bonapartism," and that focus certainly justifies this new look at the much-studied old general. Recommended for larger public libraries. Robert C. Jones, Warrensburg, MO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
PART TWO: ART
France in Egypt: Art and Archaeology