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Napoleon Voor Dummies

This is the Dutch version of Napoleon for Dummies.

Here is the review (4 stars out of 5) from a Dutch website:

Who doesn’t know Napoleon and especially who doesn’t know all the stories on his behalf: his beloved Josephine, his height and most of all the battle of Waterloo. The author of Napoleon for Dummies, David Markham, is an historian specializing in Napoleon. He wanted to write a factual book about Napoleon intended for the general public that isn’t initiated in the history of Napoleon. The result is Napoleon for Dummies.

There are only a few people who haven't heard about Napoleon, who is as well-known as as Caesar, and to be as known as Caesar was the dream of Napoleon. This small detail is only one between all those other ones in the book Napoleon for Dummies that places this book on a different level of all the other books of the for Dummies series. It is a very informative book containing all kind of legends. To make it very understandable and easy to read, it is full of very short but pleasant tales, written with a great deal of humor. And not least of all, you can surf the pages without to have to read all chapters chronologically, which makes it a pleasure to read.

David Markham doesn't bring only information on Napoleon, but gives also some background information and hindsight on the French Revolution, the American Revolution and Corsica. As such he gives you a better understanding of Napoleon's motives, all put in an outstanding perspective against the timeline of history. He describes not only the background of his acts, but also his whole life is explained in an chronological way, step by step. Everything is explained: his youth, his education, his love affairs, his family, his friends and all his deeds. For the uninitiated who wants more about Napoleon, it is a very complete book.

But there is not only praise for the book. The author is a great advocate of Napoleon, not to say an adorer. As a result there is the problem that practically the whole book is written out of a positive point of view for Napoleon. He describes also some tales as untrue, while others, also unreliable stories, are estimated as true. For instance, Markham finds the gossip about Napoleon's mother having had an affair very unlikely, but he accepts the story that Josephine's marriages were foreseen by prophesy, and this only because Josephine has mentioned this fact in her diary.

In spite of the fact that Markham writes sometimes too enthusiastically about Napoleon, and that it is doubtful which legends are true and which aren't, this book is a plain and clear reference book for the dummies among us. And the question if those legends are true or not, is still a matter of discussion between historians.