Read Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern Online


In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, only twenty-eight, set sail for Egypt with 335 ships, 40,000 soldiers, and a collection of scholars, artists, and scientists to establish an eastern empire. He saw himself as a liberator, freeing the Egyptians from oppression. But Napoleon wasn’t the first—nor the last—who tragically misunderstood Muslim culture. Marching across seemingly endleIn 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, only twenty-eight, set sail for Egypt with 335 ships, 40,000 soldiers, and a collection of scholars, artists, and scientists to establish an eastern empire. He saw himself as a liberator, freeing the Egyptians from oppression. But Napoleon wasn’t the first—nor the last—who tragically misunderstood Muslim culture. Marching across seemingly endless deserts in the shadow of the pyramids, pushed to the limits of human endurance, his men would be plagued by mirages, suicides, and the constant threat of ambush. A crusade begun in honor would degenerate into chaos. And yet his grand failure also yielded a treasure trove of knowledge that paved the way for modern Egyptology—and it tempered the complex leader who believed himself destined to conquer the world....

Title : Napoleon in Egypt
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553385243
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 512 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Napoleon in Egypt Reviews

  • Colleen
    2019-01-09 16:01

    Quite possibly the definitive book on Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. And like most Napoleon books, I learned something new practically on every page. The nearly inexhaustably amount of material on the Napoleonic Wars and Bonaparte means you can pretty much read absolutely nothing but history on it, and still be amazed. In this book, the earthshattering revelation for me was that Mamelukes were actually slaves imported from Georgia/Bosnian region with immense amount of power (was never quite sure the origin of them before). And lots of examples of classic Napoleon being his usual evil self. For example, book disputed something I had read in another book--Napoleon didn't give a direct order to have 400 prostitutes rounded up, beheaded, sewn into sacks, and tossed into the Nile for giving soldiers venereal diseases--his orders were misinterpreted by the psychotic chief of police. Actually he was a little upset about it--but then, don't give orders that could be so misconstrued. He did give the order to have 4,000+ surrendered Ottoman soldiers to be massacred though. And he tried really, really hard to have soldiers infected with plague to be poisoned. Really, I think he was only so adamant about it and bringing the poison in person was because he wanted to see a mass poisoning, and not to put wounded troops out of collective misery (because it doesn't seem that overall adverse conditions for others really bothered him that much).Same reason for the tantalizing rumor mentioned in the book of a homosexual dalliance in Cairo. Which I also see as totally possible (and Napoleon's later upsetness over it)--since his foray in Egypt was all about emulating Alexander the Great. Napoleon did things just to see--like wearing native clothes and flirting with conversion to Islam. Also some of the great what ifs ever. What if Acre fell easily and Sidney Smith was out of the picture? And Napoleon marched towards Constantinople and India instead of returning to France to become Emperor? And Egypt serves as a perfect example of everything that went wrong later under his command.Another nice aspect of the book was the focus on the savants that Napoleon brought with him--the rediscovery of ancient Egypt, the advancement in evolutionary theory, to canning food, and the idea of the Suez canal all came from the expedition. Book was also a lively read--so recommend for anyone interested in military theory, history, or science.

  • Robert Sharples
    2018-12-20 16:19

    There are so many interesting threads within this book: the life of Napoleon and what he'd go on to become; the clash of cultures between a radical, progressive, scientific French and traditional Egypt, the colonial rivalries of England and France, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the birth of interest and knowledge of Ancient Egypt and so on. This book covers lots of these themes in detail.1. Battle of the Pyramids - we see the optimism and ease with which the French take Cairo at Embaba with the ancient Pyramids as the backdrop. The Mamelukes are fearsome but the French tactics are unbeatable; they quickly take over Cairo and Napoleon installs himself as ruler.2. The Savants and the Institute - throughout the book, the role of the Savants comes to the fore: to impress Egypt with the wonders of French science (even though many of the best innovations are sunk by the English fleet at Alexandria), to establish discussion and intellectual activity at the institute in a requisitioned Mameluk palace and to record and document noteworthy finds in Egyt from flora and fauna, the geography of the country and perhaps most importantly Ancient Egyptian monuments like the Rosetta Stone.3. Pursuit into Upper Egypt - Desaix's pursuit of Murat Bey and his Mamelukes into Upper Egypt truly reads like a pursuit into the unknown and into deeply unhospitable terrain where unknown beasts like 40 feet crocodiles dwell. It's also interesting to read about the Savant (Denon)'s documenting of temples like Dendera which are being seen for the first time, and which are believed to be older even than they really were. Also striking is how seriously the Savants and even the army take the endeavor of sketching temples, hieroglyphic art and documenting the expedition.4. An abandoned army - Striking is the way Napoleon abandons his army in Egypt, not even informing his replacement Kleber until after he has left the country. Though this could be seen as cowardice and plain opportunism, the writer sympathetically believes that Napoleon is encouraged to do so by the Directory. Also, it's clear that Napoleon sees his chance to seize power in France while his star is on the rise. Also, perhaps after his failure during the seize of Acre and the aftermath, he can't see any real progress any more as it's unlikely he will go on to take Constantinople and Syria; plus the English blockade continues to make the existence of the army difficult.

  • M.M. Bennetts
    2019-01-02 17:01

    This review was originally published in The Christian Science Monitor.On 19 May 1798, General Napoleon Bonaparte sailed from Italy with an army of nearly 40,000 men–along with another, smaller army of scientists, engineers, artists, and linguists, the so-called Savants–to conquer Egypt.First stop, however, was Malta. There, Napoleon ousted the traditional rulers, the Knights of St. John, established Malta as a French satellite, and plundered the treasury’s five million francs of gold, one million of silver and one million in gems. (Someone had to pay for his fantasy of becoming the new Alexander the Great.)Arriving in Egypt on 1st July, by August the French had taken Alexandria and marched across the desert to defeat the Mameluke army at the Battle of the Pyramids and at Cairo. Then, in a bout of indomitable energy and attention to detail, Napoleon established a new Egyptian government with himself as titular head.Yet twelve months and several major battles later–-bankrupt, having lost most of his troops and many of the Savants, his navy destroyed by the British under Admiral Nelson–-on August 24, 1799, Napoleon abandoned his Egyptian dream of empire along with the remnants of his army, to hightail it back to France, where he proclaimed the whole to have been a glorious victory. Napoleon in Egypt is novelist and philosopher Paul Strathern’s account of this disastrous Middle Eastern sojourn.In some ways, the Egyptian enterprise was little more than a costly diversion or side-show to Napoleon’s European wars which would topple countless legitimate governments, cost between five and seven million lives, and immerse the Continent in over a decade of total war.Still, it was in Egypt that Napoleon truly developed his taste for absolute power. It was here, for the first time, that his psychopathic contempt for his troops, his devious lying, as well as some measure of his megalomania were given full rein–-with awful consequences.Yet Strathern routinely plays down these unpalatable aspects of Napoleon’s character, clinging instead to the Napoleonic myth of heroism and glory.He omits, minimises or attempts to explain away the French atrocities–-such as the sacking of the Al-Azhar in Cairo, and the slaughter of Ottoman prisoners following the siege of Jaffa. He credits Napoleon’s proclamations of religious toleration. He relies on the highly inflated enemy casualty numbers given by Napoleon himself. Moreover, he seems unaware that French casualty lists of the period recorded neither desertions nor suicides, both of which occurred with terrible frequency during the long desert marches.Confining his research to this single campaign has left Strathern dangerously unfamiliar with a wider contextual understanding of the events and personalities involved here or the pervading ideologies of Romanticism and French nationalism. This leads him to make sweeping generalisations which do not bear up under scrutiny, and perilous forays into talk-show style psychological analyses which misinterpret Napoleon’s background, mores and prejudices as well as the melodramatic blusterings of his vast personal correspondence. Nor has Strathern availed himself of the latest published research on Napoleon’s wars or the recent archaeological findings at battle sites which are at odds with official accounts of the age.Written in the style of a child’s geography textbook, Napoleon in Egypt is simplistic, bland, and cliched. Strathern’s tepid prose saps the battle narratives of their courage, dynamism and drama. In his version, the derring-do just derring-doesn’t. More comprehensive and poignant accounts of the major battles–-particularly the Battle of the Nile and the Siege at Acre–-can be found in the Adkins’ The War for All the Oceans.But, remarkably, this is undoubtedly the finest account of the Savants and their contribution to the fields of archaeology, ancient history, and botany to date. For amongst the detritus of Napoleon’s overweening hubris, Strathern has woven an illuminating account of the long-neglected scientists and artists who accompanied him. Their work and adventures–-their drawings of the ruins at Thebes unseen by Western eyes for over a millennium, their meticulous studies of Egyptian flora and fauna, their discovery of the hieroglyphs and their excavation of the tombs–-transformed our understanding of the ancient world, created the field of Egyptology, and ushered in huge advances in the biological sciences.The field of Napoleonic studies is dominated by titans–-historians such as David A. Bell, Charles Esdaile, Paul Kennedy, and Colin White, historians whose encyclopaedic knowledge and grasp of detail is nothing short of colossal. Yet while Strathern’s efforts do not elevate him to such heights, the breadth of his findings on the secondary characters in this empirical venture do make Napoleon in Egypt a necessary and useful addition to any Napoleonic shelf.

  • Preston Ray
    2018-12-25 15:59

    Okay, I don't quite get why this book has such high ratings. Too much pop-psychology, broad generalizations and assertions without much to back them up. The writing is entertaining but so is a lot of fiction.There are many better books on Napoleon that do a lot more justice to his complex personality and also better books on the Egyptian campaign. For the Egyptian Campaign, try any of the following before this.Osprey Men-At-Arms series has a quick easy read on the military aspects by Michael Barthorp.There is a first person account from Captain Joseph-Marie Moiret translated into English by Rosemary Brindle. (Memoir's of Napoleon's Egyptian Expedition 1798 - 1801)Terence M Russel has a book focusing on one of the savants, Vivant Denon. (The Discovery of Egypt Vivant Denon's Travels with Napoleon's Army)Just my opinion and it seems to be in the minority but if you are looking for something that attempts to be factual and back up any opinions that are stated this is not it.

  • Andrea
    2019-01-02 19:28

    This is a readable and thorough discussion of Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. I'm not a specialist in Napoleon by any means, so it may seem oversimplified for some of the more informed. But the writing was clear and I really got caught up in the action. The author is careful to consider Napoleon's view, that of his aides, his soldiers, and to some degree the Egyptians. If one wants a really detailed view of how Napoleon influenced African history, this book does not go into that in any detail. I read this along with some other books I'm reading about antiquities and Western museums and it really filled in some areas for me. Well-paced and I learned a lot.

  • Ctny
    2018-12-26 19:26

    Considering there aren't that many books solely focused on Napoleon's expedition in Egypt I really appreciated Strathern's book. Strathern keeps the narrative lively and adventurous while still interweaving the historical context and larger topics into his writing. I also enjoyed the parallels that he drew pertaining to Napoleon's later encounters with Admiral Nelson. This isn't the best book if you're using it for research. A lot of the narrative structure echoes J. Christopher Herold's 1962 monograph "Bonaparte in Egypt". If you're looking for a more critical look into this time period Philip Dwyer has five chapters in "Napoleon: the Path to Power"(2008).

  • Iuli
    2019-01-13 15:20

    Read this book on Napoleon so i'm pretty much an expert now. If you need insightful remarks on my boy N.B. don't hesitate to call me.

  • K.D. McQuain
    2019-01-08 18:16

    It's a decent read, well researched and footnoted. I do wish it was a bit more rousing seeing how it is a great adventure story.

  • J.
    2018-12-31 18:04

    Seems with a good book that a series of hurdles, if legitimate, present the reader with a more rewarding reading experience, for some reason. Russian novels come to mind, with the patronymic tradition that allows one character to be addressed differently by different characters; once the reader pushes through the identity issues, each exchange is a little enriched by how the characters address each other. Similarly, historical accounts of Egypt under early exploration present the dilemma of Lower Egypt being in the North of the country, travelling Upriver on the Nile means you're headed South toward Upper Egypt, and Downriver toward the Nile Delta means you're Northbound. Once this is clear, you're on your way. This is the second book about the Napoleonic invasion & occupation of Egypt I've read this year, and the better one, being more comprehensive in almost every respect. Why Napoleon In Egypt, again ? For me it fits neatly in the intersection between the Literature Of Empire and the east-versus-west catalog surrounding the Great Game... Who better to represent Mr Kipling's fictional The Man Who Would Be King in real-life terms than Napoleon Bonaparte ?Colorful and romantic, the culture-clash between the backwater of the Ottomans that Egypt had already become and the Revolutionary French --creates the stress that reveals much about both worlds. And there is certainly something of the tragic and inevitable in "the contrast between the little bits of France which grew up here and there in Cairo, and the vast oriental city which engulfed them..."Nevertheless, in this history, we do get glimmers of French intent -- Napoleon made extraordinary cultural efforts on this expedition, including the accompanying Savants recruited in every field of science and the arts that travelled with his armada to invade Egypt. These men he would form into an Institute housed in the palaces of the deposed Egyptian elite : The palaces themselves were surrounded by an extensive garden complex, which was enclosed by walls, providing the members and their savant colleagues with one of the most pleasant spots in the city. The Institute would soon include all manner of facilities, including an extensive library consisting largely of the books Napoleon himself had selected to bring with him on the expediton: a core compendium of Western literature and knowledge. One such Savant recalls member Gaspard Monge, who "would expand on his views of the future of Egypt, sometimes on his skeptical ideas, sometimes on his latest ideas regarding his beloved descriptive geometry. He spoke with such enthusiasm that it colored his entire imagination. The beauty of the night sky, the scent of the orange trees, the sweet and pleasant airs, all added to the ambience of our meetings, which went on into much of the night..."From the Egyptian viewpoint, even the eventual decree of holy war by the Sultan would contain interesting language regarding the French : They mock all religions, the reject belief in another life, as well as its rewards and tortures, they do not believe in the resurrection of the body, nor in the last judgement, and they think that a blind chance presides over their life and death, that they owe their existence to pure matter, and that after this life their body returns to the earth...This was a loose, medieval, theist entity forced to confront something very alien. Here at the other end of the historical telescope, though, this little rant of the Sultan's might not appear at all critical, as it continues :The French think that men, being born equal, must be equally free; that all distinction between men is unjust, and that each ought to be the master of his own opinions and his manner of living..... They have the impudence to say: We are brothers and friends, the same interests unite us, and we have the same religious opinions...All of that to the good, when we look back to the center of the picture, there is Bonaparte--- avaricious, bloody-minded, and fixated on himself above all else. At a certain point in the proceedings, it even appears that Napoleon himself went off the edge. His lovelorn letters to his faithful Josephine back in France had been intercepted by the British Blockade at the head of the Nile. No big loss, had it not been for the fact that Josephine had been public with her lovers back in Paris, and the Brits published the letters in the London daily papers, to the very great amusement of the English readership. It would be fair to say that Bonaparte blew fuses on hearing the news; in his defense, he quickly rose to the occasion and began to envision what was taking shape as his great Oriental Dream Of Conquest. He would march on Constantinople and conquer the Ottomans; he would follow in Alexander's steps and march on to India and thwart the British. In his own words to the Egyptians, "The power of God passes through me so that I defeat the enemies of Islam and crush the Christian cross... All I have done was inspired by God .. [it is:] the design of God; no one can prevent the execution of his will, and it is I who have been charged with this execustion."Worthwhile to note is that all during the Egyptian expedition, notions of religion were falling down to revelations about the Ancient World of the Pharaohs, courtesy hieroglyphs and Rosetta Stone, both discovered largely by the Savant units. Highly developed civilization in the Luxor and Thebes valleys, thousands of years prior to that described in the origin-myths of judeo-christianity undercut the accepted greco-roman timeline. This would lend a certain freedom to Bonaparte's declarations of what God's design might be, what 'destiny' might have in store. What begins to dawn on Napoleon, with his fleet destroyed in Alexandria harbor and nothing ahead but the untold riches of the Orient, is that he'll found a New Asian Empire, much as the Americans had recently taken control of their own new continent. He founds the Regiment des Dromadaires, a camel corps not unlike what Lawrence would later utilize. He very carefully re-examines the ancient idea of a canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, to support his overland conquests, via ships that would sail the Arabian Sea.... which eventually became the Suez Canal.He's brought the libraries and experts from the old empire, and he starts to consolidate the vision : he will re-boot Civilisation itself from the cradle of the ancients. Free of all constraints (and any contact or control from France) -- his imagination, and his ambition would know no bounds.How it turns out is best left to the book, and it's a twisted tale.Recommended.

  • Todd Stockslager
    2019-01-08 20:01

    Common historical knowledge includes the awareness that Napoleon slipped out of Egypt alone, abandoning his army to the lost cause while dishonorably slinking back to France to triumphantly become--Napoleon.Not so common is the awareness of Napoleon's goal in Egypt, and how it shaped his leadership afterwards. Strathern's history does an excellent job of telling this often-neglected history:1. Napoleon went to Egypt intent on conquering that country first, then moving eastward through the Middle East all the way to India, by land, following Alexander the Great's path through geography and history, knocking the British out of India and establishing in a land-based world empire never before or since rivaled. While hindsight suggests the impossibility of such grand goals and renders them at best laughable and at worst evidence of dementia, his plan was based on solid historical precedent that Strathern ably documents, and on Napoleon's aquaphobic leadership style (which after all served him well-enough to expand French empirical control over most of western Europe and threatened Britain's great global naval empire). And as short-lived as his victories were, Napoleon did establish tenuous control over Egypt and marched northward and eastward along the Mediterranean all the way to Acre, where a victory, he claimed, would have set up his turn to the east with a ground swell of local support, augmented with several thousand slave troops from Africa, that would have impelled him through Iran, Iraq, and on to India. In exile at the end of his astonishing but stunted career, Napoleon would claim "I missed my fortune at Acre"; he may have truly been that close to his ultimate goal.2. Napoleon in Egypt was learning how to be a leader on his model, with ungoverned and ungovernable authority and no oversight internally or externally. The communications limitations of the time, combined with the British blockade of Alexandria and mastery of the Mediterranean more generally, left Napoleon isolated from any political guidance from the French Directory that was his putative master and oversight. The few communications that were successfully exchanged (many were captured by the British and used to devastating effect in the realpolitik of diplomacy) were colored by Napoleon's intentionally inaccurate and rose-colored generalities (he reported only what he wanted the Directory to know or believe) and the Directory's uncertainty about Napoleon's status and their fragile grasp on power back home. In this crucible of leadership, Napoleon became dynamite, figuring out how to lead and manipulate not just armies but institutes of state, church, and press to govern cities and countries.Strathern's history gets inside the sources to provide the real account of Napoleon's time in Egypt, providing reality to balance the mythic view of the French Foreign Legion marching through the desert with the pyramids looming in the background. Strathern documents some of the scientific and historical goals and achievements of the conquest (Napoleon was frustratingly modern and admirable in his attention to these nonmilitary goals), but also documents its sour underbelly--poor logistics, unrestrained greed and racism, and rampant disease that ravaged both the conquerors and the (never-quite) conquered.Napoleon was a model for dictators to come in the 20th century (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Amin, Duvalier, Noriega) who would combine the genius of Napoleon's apolitical, amoral, and areligious leadership with better communications technology to extend their frightening power over even larger empires and populations. For this alone, Napoleon is a worthy subject to study, and Strathern's history of Napoleon's Egyptian adventure adds measurably to the literature.

  • Bas Kreuger
    2019-01-17 16:08

    A fine narrative piece of history-writing. Napoleons campaign to Egypt has been seen as a side show in history, certainly compared to the more deciding campaigns in Austria, Spain, Germany and naturally Russia.However, the Egyptian campaign can be seen as a formative period for Napoleon. On his own, without interference from the Directory in Paris, Napoleon got a taste of not only generalship, but more importantly of empirebuilding. Besides conquering Egypt, he tried to transform Egyptian society into a modern, French styled, country. He introduced garbage collection in Caïro, streetlightning, decent burial of the dead, beter healthcare, the building of bridges over the Nile and other measures. Of course, his motives weren't unselfish, he wanted to make Egypt his base for the subsequent invasion of India and downfall of the British empire.With tenthousands of Egyptian or arabic soldiers, he wanted to become a new Alexander the Great and conquer the Far East.These dreams did fall apart in the continued resistance of the Arabs and specifically the Ottoman Empire, helped by the British. After failing in his siege of Acre, Napoleon gave up this project and returned to France to take over power from the Directory as one of (initially) three Consuls, leaving his army behind in a like way as he would later do in Russia in 1812.The lasting legacy of this campaign is to be found in the group of 'savants' (scientists) Napoleon took with him to Egypt. They found and described the ruins of the ancient Egypt culture, thereby founding Egyptology as a science in itself. Finding the Rosetta Stone in 1799 made possible to decipher the hieroglyphs and beginning to understand this ancient culture.A highly recommended book

  • Brian
    2019-01-05 20:10

    Paul Stathern delivers a fascinating account on Napoleon's invasion of Egypt covering the military, political and cultural significance of this historical Middle Eastern invasion. Napoleon christened his army the Army of the Orient which revealed much about his true target. Not only Egypt but beyond through the valleys of Persia to the mountains of India. Napoleon at his naïve stage intended to conquer them all as he had Italy. It was in Egypt that Napoleon shaped not only many of his military intentions but his administrative qualities. He intended to reform Egypt as demonstrated with the learned Savants he brought with him to explore and develop institutions including a college in Egypt. From the excavations of Giza to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone these Savants would pioneer the field of Egyptology and reveal much to the world of what was essentially a forgotten society. The great battles from Aboukir Bay, the Arce and the Battle of the Pyramids are all covered and focus on the great stories of Turkish soldiers, Mameluke warriors and the infamous battle square that Napoleon deployed effectively against the numerically advantageous foes. As someone who wrote this undergrad thesis on the propaganda value of Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, Strahern's books is a great addition to the literature and not one to miss if you want to know more about the early career of Napoleon.

  • Louise
    2018-12-22 15:23

    The author conveys the drama and adventure of the young Napoleon and his army in Egypt. The prose can't help but grip the reader, even a reader who knows the outcome of the stories, battles and adventures will keep turning pages.The author describes and documents his take on Napoleon's motives and the political pressures on him. He describes how he acquired his resources, refreshingly with facts and explanations. (The financial end of campaigns is often generalized in this type of narrative.) He follows the chronology of events with a few fittingly placed interludes that span time that give a flavor of the daily life in Cairo. He describes some of the interpersonal differences and loyalties and in the end summarizes what happened to the survivors later in their lives.By describing how the taxes were collected, how Beys paid their tributes, how "justice" was meted, how trade was insecure and thereby constrained, Strathern showed not just how the Mameluke system worked, but also how Egypt related to the Ottoman Empire.A few reviewers have noted inaccuracies but none of these will be memorable or relevant to the general reader and none changes my overall response to the work. Paul Strathern can write and bring to life the drama, tragedy and significance of the short incursion.I highly recommend this book for general readers of history.

  • Sara Ramsey
    2018-12-27 18:01

    I can't express how much I loved this book...mostly because I love drama, and Strathern did a great job pulling in a lot of memoirs/letters/anecdotes that were full of tales of derring-do and general ridiculousness. I saw a review on Amazon that said he got lots of little details wrong, and I perhaps wouldn't be surprised (I noticed that he said the French Grand Army in Russia a decade later died of typhoid, when they really died of typhus, which is a different disease all together).But for a general overview of Napoleon's (mis)adventures in Egypt, along with an illustration of the impact the scientists, artists, and other 'savants' he took with him had on European and world culture, this book is great. Very conversational/readable, with copious endnotes (on Kindle, the endnotes comprise the last 17% of the book). And for historical writers looking for inspiration, this book is full of characters who sound like they belong in a novel - if I wrote some of them in one of my books, the historical-accuracy police would have my head without ever believing that they were real people.Of course, if you care nothing about Napoleon or late 18th/early 19th century Europe or the first real forays by Europeans into Egypt in 1500+ years, then this is probably not the book for you :)

  • Iain
    2019-01-04 19:22

    I've read a great deal about Napoleon, but I've encountered only cursory coverage of his expedition to Egypt. Strathern manages to give us a detailed account of a fascinating journey. Of a revolutionary group of Europeans, visiting Egypt for the first time in centuries. Their social, scientific, and military experiences are conveyed in readable, engrossing prose. Particularly in the book's last 2/3rds as in the early chapters Strathern tends to use overly complicated words which strike a discordant note in his narrative flow. Make no mistake, the book isn't an easy read. But its worth the effort for anyone interested in the histories of France or Egypt, as well as science and exploration.

  • Carlos
    2019-01-10 13:18

    Once again, Strathern is able to recount one of history’s most awe inspiring chapters with an intensity usually reserved for Dan Brown novels. He is able to not only put you in the middle of the action but show you time and time again the folly of the idea that history is made by the will of anyone man. Strathern shows how history is a serious of fortuitous occurrences that certain humans have the ability to use to further their own benefits. In this regard, Strathern is able to revoke the perception that it was Napoleon’s indomitable will that made all his successes possible. On the contrary, he is able to show how Napoleon along with some of his men and enemies were able to make use of some of the most inconsequential situations and turn them to their advantage.

  • Drew
    2018-12-18 13:21

    This book was a great way to learn about Napoleon's Egyptian campaign. The author goes into details that no biography could ever do without dragging into a 3000 page volume. The book is written in a great style which makes it an exciting read. The author sometimes speculates about the nature of the relationship between Napoleon and Josephine, which I found a little too opinionated and not objective enough, but those instances were very rare (and hey, Strathern is the expert, not me). The military, political, and social aspects of the campaign are discussed in a great detail in this book. I loved reading this book and heartily endorse it.

  • Daniel Mason-D'croz
    2019-01-06 15:23

    This is a pretty interesting book, Strathern uses a narrative style that is accessible to anyone. The events of the Egyptian campaign can almost be read as an adventure novel and Strathern does a good job of describing the historical events of this campaign in an interesting and enjoyable way. While previously familiar with the general events of the Egyptian campaign, I still was able to learn a great deal through reading this book. Strathern uses first hand accounts and the memoirs of the actual participants to really give a human touch to this historical account. I would recommend this book to people interested in Napoleon, and general history buffs who enjoy a good historical narrative.

  • Victor Gibson
    2018-12-31 15:20

    This book rolls along describing clearly the various land and sea battles which eventually resulted in the defeat of the French in Egypt after Napoleon had left for France. It is just a bit difficult to keep all the players in mind, but the various wild characters are fascinating, to the point that sometimes one has to reread descriptions of them and their activities. Despite the amount of research which must have been undertaken to write the book, there are not too many quotations. So in the end it is exciting, so much so that even knowing the ending it is difficult to put down, and also extremely informative. What more could one ask.

  • Glenn Robinson
    2019-01-16 13:20

    The more I read about Napoleon in Egypt, the more I am wondering about this myth that Napoleon was a great leader. Forcing his army to march in the desert without water, not bringing proper artillery, and questions remaining whether or not he ordered his sick troops to be euthanized, the example of great leadership simply is not here during this period of time in Napoleon's life. As for this book, well written, focused on Napoleon's time in Egypt with just a brief segment before and after. Once again, he makes for an interesting character.

  • Alastair Manderson
    2019-01-07 18:20

    Most interesting was the discussion of Napoleon's views on the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. The rest of the book was fairly dry, with interesting accounts of economic governance. Perhaps the let down of the book, for me, is that it focusses a great deal of time on consider the sexual relationships of Napoleon, which are of neither interest nor major detail in terms of the campaign in Egypt.

  • Josianne Fitzgerald
    2018-12-27 19:14

    Excellent! Enjoyed especially the first hand accounts of Egypt in the 19th century. Some descriptions still apply today. It is staggering to contemplate Napoleon's ambitions and political fantasies, particularly in light of the difficulties in communication with Europe. But also impressive are the contributions of the savants that accompanied him to Egypt. Napoleon was right in considering those as his greatest achievement in Egypt.

  • José Antonio
    2018-12-30 20:00

    Lo único que puedo decir negativo de este trabajo es que echo en falta es algun material gráfico de la Descripcion de L'egypte. Por lo demás, un trabajo muy bien planteado, sobre todo porque no se ciñe al aspect militar sino que refleja todas las actividades francesas en la expedición (sociales, administrativas, culturales...)

  • Andy
    2018-12-24 19:24

    Engaging history written like a story. The author describes the difficulty facing the French army in Mameluke Egypt and equally depicts the French ideals as well as their reception from influential Egyptians observing the effect of French colonial policy. This is an engaging read for anyone interested in Napoleon, European colonialism, Egyptian history, or small wars.

  • Sean
    2019-01-08 16:16

    An exciting war story of Napoleon's rather misguided attempt at following in Alexander The Great's footsteps. He almost pulls it off... but not really. Interesting that he brought with him so many scientists who made so many discoveries while there, making the scientific angle the historically resonant part of the story.

  • Chip
    2019-01-01 19:20

    This is an amazingly readable narrative about a fascinating time in Europe and the Middle East. Littered with nuggets of historical wisdom and a scholarly work of non-fiction throughout, it reads like a novel from cover to cover.

  • Jack McEnany
    2019-01-03 17:00

    History as compelling narrative. Bursts some myths, paints a very human portrait of Napoleon and his minions. Taught me much.

  • Cody
    2018-12-19 19:16

    A strange story well researched and well presented.

  • Ahmed Amir Neihoum
    2019-01-08 13:29

    Beautiful to read and Paul writes in a narrative style that always wants you to read more. Highly recommended for anyone interested in Napoleon's and Egypt's history in this period

  • KJ
    2019-01-15 15:16

    I read about a 1/4 of it and stopped. I'm just so hit-or-miss with non-fiction and this one was a miss. I don't believe it's the author's fault, it's just not something that clicked with me.