Book Review: La Vita Di Napoleone Bonaparte by Lorenzo Vincenti

I’ve been debating for a while now on whether I should review La Vita Di Napoleone Bonaparte: L’Uomo Che Cambiò Il Volto Dell’Europa (The Life Of Napoleon Bonaparte: The Man Who Changed The Face Of Europe) because this book has now become incredibly hard to find (hence why the “available at” section of the review is missing; I just couldn’t find it anywhere for sale online, apart from the occasional ebay listing) and I’m not even sure it is available in any other language than Italian. I just happened to find it by a stroke of luck and I though I’d write a review anyway in case you, too, should come across it in a language you can understand.

Love him or hate it, Napoleon Bonaparte is a very fascinating figure and I was very curious to find out more about him. Sadly, this biography didn’t tell me all I wanted to know. Rather than a full biography where every aspect of his life, both personal and professional, are discussed, this book focuses mostly on the many battles and wars Napoleon fought during his career. Lorenzo Vincenti takes the reader on the battlefield to witness Napoleon fighting his first battles in the Revolutionary army, conquering half Europe and losing it all in the end, showing us what a great military genius he was, how he was able to exploit his enemy’s weaknesses and what fatal mistakes he made in his last campaigns that cost him his crown.

If you love your military history, you should try and track down this book. Otherwise, it will just bore you. Personally, I’m more interested in his relationships with his wives Josephine and Marie Louise, his sister Pauline and the rest of his family, in his personal tastes, his habits, his quirks and all the little things that make you understand who a person really is. Even the political happenings of his time, save for the many declaration of wars and things like that, aren’t explored, nor the author talks much about the social, cultural and economic aspects of French society at the time.

The book is simply a never-ending (or so it seems to those not particularly interested solely in this subject) list of battles. But the style is very straightforward and easy-to-understand, making the book flow very easily. It is also short, so none of the battles are explored too in-depth, although you would probably get more information about his military career here than in most books that would explore, for lack of space, most of those same battles in much less detail, if not completely skip some of them. Although La Vita Di Napoleone explores only a part of Napoleon’s wife, it is still an interesting read that I recommend to all fans of the subject.

La Vita Di Napoleone Bonaparte by Lorenzo Vincenti is a hard-to-track-down book about the military career of and battles fought by Napoleon. Every other aspect of his life and the times he lived in are only briefly mentioned. The book is short, written in a simple and straightforward style and flows easily. If military history is your thing, you will enjoy this. Otherwise, you can just skip it.

Rating: 3.5/5

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