HAUSSADIS Jean-Marie (ed.), ROBBE Emilie (ed.),
Napoléon et les Invalides (in French)
© Editions de la Revue Napoléon
From the editor:
Of the many illustrious names who have helped to make France what it is, two in particular have left their mark on the Hôtel national des Invalides: Louis XIV, who issued Libéral Bruant and Jules-Hardouin Mansart with the task of constructing the building that would provide shelter for his soldiers, and Napoleon I, who made it a pantheon to the Nation's military glory. From the crypt housed in the Dôme au Musée de l'Armée, to the statue that watches over the inner courtyard and oversaw the retour des cendres from St Helena, the shadow and presence of the French Emperor is felt everywhere. As the Musée de l'Armée prepares to unveil its newly reorganised Modern History collection (1643 - 1870), the time seems right to revisit the subject.
Co-published by the Musée de l'Armée and Editions de la Revue Napoléon, supported by the Fondation Napoléon, "Napoléon et les Invalides" adopts a synthetic approach, examining every aspect, both famous and unknown, tying the Emperor to the Hôtel national des Invalides.
To set the scene, a number of articles will discuss a variety of themes, ranging from military history to art, before moving onto the history of the museum's collections themselves, tracing their own personal stories before they appear in their cases.
Attention then turns to the objects themselves. Richly illustrated, and full of detail, the catalogue will cover not only the most famous items, but also some not seen before. Weapons, insignias, uniforms, medals, artillery, luxury items and those of a daily use all feature and all evoke the Emperor, his marshals and other individuals unknown to us but who nevertheless contributed to the glory of the Grade Armée.
Place and publisher: Annecy: Editions de la Revue Napoléon
Date of publication: 2010
Number of pages: 432
To order or to take out a subscription: Click here for an order form (PDF link).
This week’s book(s):
Description: First published by George Philip in 1987, this book is published in 2015 with new material as part of the introduction.
From the publisher's:
"This book offers a fresh view of the most famous man in history. It shows him as a monarch rather than a genius on the battlefield. Although Napoleon arose through the events of the Revolution, he was primarily interested in establishing a dynasty to rank with the Bourbons or the Habsburgs, and in extending his influence throughout Europe.
Philip Mansel's book shows the ruthlessness with which Napoleon sought to achieve these ends. His creation of a court was a calculated act, to enhance his power and prestige. His policy of territorial expansionism was pursued with an arrogance and inhumanity which turned all Europe against him. His brothers and sisters were given thrones and courts in Italy, Spain, Holland and Westphalia, where they alienated most of their subjects.
This account is based on the hitherto unpublished papers of several of Napoleon's courtiers. This contemporary material provides fascinating insights into the careers and characters of those closest to the Emperor, including Duroc, the Emperor's only friend, his second wife, the Empress Marie Louise, Fontaine, his architect, who helped spread the Empire style throughout Europe, and his brother Joseph, one of the few people who had the courage to tell Napoleon when he was wrong.
The Eagle in Splendour shows that personal genius is not enough to establish a monarchy. The heart of the Napoleonic court was a void, because the Emperor was not loved and his regime lacked credibility. The Emperor's domination of Europe was an illusion, killed, like so many of his soldiers, in the Russian snow. As Malraux said to De Gaulle, Napoleon had ‘a very great mind and a rather small soul'."
Place and publisher: London, I.B.Tauris
Date of publication: 2015
Number of pages: 256
See all books highlighted as This month's book