Philip Dwyer

Hitler: A Life by Peter Longerich, translated by Jeremy Noakes and Lesley Sharpe

October 2019, no. 415

It’s a disconcerting image. Piercing blue eyes stare out at you from the cover of the book. It renders Adolf Hitler somehow human, which is the intent of the author, Peter Longerich, and which sets this biography apart from the many others that have preceded it. Two other notable biographers, Ian Kershaw and Joachim Fest, refused to engage with Hitler’s personal ...

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 ...

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Long hair flowing around his face, he grasps his sword firmly in one hand, the regimental banner held high in the other as he strides purposefully onto the bridge, leading his men to victory. It is one of the most familiar portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte, immortalised by the painter Antoine-Jean Gros: an image of courage, of leadership, of calm determination. And it is not quite what happened. The attack on the bridge at Arcola was a dismal failure and ended in an ignominious withdrawal, in the course of which the diminutive Bonaparte fell into a ditch and nearly drowned. It was hardly the stuff of heroic legend. 

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