Peter McPhee reviews 'Napoleon: Passion, death and resurrection 1815–1840' by Philip Dwyer

Peter McPhee reviews 'Napoleon: Passion, death and resurrection 1815–1840' by Philip Dwyer

Napoleon: Passion, death and resurrection 1815–1840

by Philip Dwyer

Bloomsbury, $29.99 pb, 390 pp, 9781408891759

A son of the French Revolution, Napoleon embedded in French society the Revolution’s core goals of national unity, civil equality, a hierarchy based on merit and achievement, and a rural society based on private property rather than feudal obligations. To these he added the Civil Code, the Bank of France, and other reforms, but he was never able to establish a stable political regime, primarily because internal rule was always subject to the insatiable demands of his external empire.

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Published in October 2018, no. 405

Peter McPhee

Peter McPhee was appointed to a Personal Chair in History at the University of Melbourne in 1993. He has published widely on the history of modern France, most recently Robespierre: A revolutionary Life (Yale University Press, 2012); and Liberty or Death: the French Revolution (Yale University Press, 2016). He was the University’s first Provost in 2007-09 AND chaired the Board of Melbourne University Publishing 2012–17. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Academy of Social Sciences. See

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