Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny - Michael Broers

Oxford University Professor and European history scholar Michael Broers offers an engaging portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte in his new Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny (Pegasus, $35). The book is the first of a two-volume study of the French leader, and is solidly grounded in Napoleon’s correspondence and papers (currently being published by the Fondacion Napoleon). This first installment covers Napoleon’s life from his birth in Corsica in 1769 to the autumn of 1805, as he and his Grande Armée prepared to face the allied Habsburgs, Russians, and British in battle. The author revises the stereotype of Napoleon as a megalomaniac psychopath bent on world domination to offer a more nuanced portrait of the man behind the myth, though he may at times swing too far to the positive in his defense of Napoleon's choices. Nevertheless, both Broers' profile of his subject and his analysis of European history are peppered with searing witticisms and observations that make for an enjoyable and informative read. Broers reveals Napoleon as a complex man whose so-called "destiny" for greatness was less the result of fate than of hard work and relentless ambition.

Napoleon By Michael Broers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781681773056
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pegasus Books - January 10th, 2017

The Invention of Nature: Alexander Von Humboldt's New World - Andrea Wulf

You’ve probably heard of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), since he has more places named after him than any other person, not to mention the Humboldt Current, Histiotus humboldti, Spheniscus humboldti, and many other plants and animals. What exactly did he do? Plenty—though not as much as he wanted to. Known as a natural scientist—in this case meaning also a geologist, botanist, biologist—Humboldt held a day job as Chamberlain for the Prussian emperor, and was a life-long abolitionist. His friends included Goethe and Bolívar; his multi-volume works presented facts and data in graceful, lyrical prose and were bestsellers throughout Europe. In order to tell his story, Andrea Wulf, as she did in The Brother Gardeners, combines biography, history, economics, and science, but it’s for his work on The Invention of Nature (Knopf, $30) that she most admires him. Humboldt’s insight, Wulf shows, was to see nature not as discrete parts, but as one integrated network. His stunning Naturgemälde, drawing on his five-year exploration of Latin America, not only anticipated ecosystems, evolution, plate tectonics, and climate change, it was revolutionary in its graphic display of information; you can see it reproduced here, along with many of Humboldt’s own drawings.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World By Andrea Wulf Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385350662
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf - September 15th, 2015

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World By Andrea Wulf Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345806291
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - October 4th, 2016