Andrew Roberts – Napoleon: A Life
This recent Napoleon biography has quickly garnered a stellar reputation. It strikes a healthy balance between telling the story of the person and the story of the times, tending a bit more towards the personal side.
The justification for writing yet another Napoleon biography in a flooded market is that Roberts is the first biographer to be given access to more than 33,000 pieces of Napoleon’s written correspondence, and he draws on them heavily. He gives new details and insights from these primary sources about Napoleon’s relationship with Josephine, his thoughts before and after critical battles and inflection points in his career, and more. Unlike most other biographers, Roberts also traveled to the island of St. Helena. His portrait of Napoleon’s final exile is all the more vivid as a result, and even a little touching.