“HIGH RANK IN THE MILITARY HISTORY OF THE AGES”: FIRST EDITION OF BELLOC’S NAPOLESON, WITH 22 FULL-PAGE MAPS
NAPOLEON. Napoleon. London: Casell, (1932). Octavo, modern three-quarter green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $700.
First edition of Hilaire Belloc’s noted history of Napoleon, with frontispiece and 22 full-page maps, handsomely bound by Bayntun-Riviere.
A leader who "occupies a high rank in the military history of the ages… The greatness of Napoleon was that he tried to transcend human limitations and nearly succeeded." Even to critics such as Chateaubriand, Napoleon was "the mightiest breath of life which ever quickened human clay" (McLynn, 664-5). With this impressive biography of Napoleon, the French-born Hilaire Belloc—a leading journalist, member of Parliament and noted historian— examines both the genius and failed hopes of Napoleon. To Belloc, Napoleon's mark on history can be traced to how his character was "formed, tested and developed, so that it rose to the magnitude of his achievement," even as "he was condemned, inevitably, to rely upon men unreliable" (5). With frontispiece and 22 full-page maps. Issued the same year in New York by Lippincott, no priority established.