Napoleon in Egypt by Paul Strathern

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 7 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

“Europe is a molehill….”
Everything here is worn out…tiny Europe has not enough to offer.
We must set off for the Orient; that is where all the greatest glory is to be achieved.”
—Napoleon


Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt was the first Western attack in modern times on a Middle Eastern country. In this remarkably rich and eminently readable historical account, acclaimed author Paul Strathern reconstructs a mission of conquest inspired by glory, executed in haste, and bound for disaster.

In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte, only twenty-eight, mounted the most audacious military campaign of his already spectacular career. With 335 ships, 40,000 soldiers, and a collection of scholars, artists, scientists, and inventors, he set sail for Egypt to establish an Eastern empire in emulation of Alexander the Great. Like everything Napoleon ever attempted, it was a plan marked by unquenchable ambition, heroic romanticism, and not a little madness.

Napoleon saw himself as a liberator, freeing the Egyptians from the oppression of their Mameluke overlords. But while Napoleon thought his army would be welcomed as heroes, he tragically misunderstood Muslim culture and grossly overestimated the “gratitude” he could expect from those he’d come to save. Instead Napoleon and his men would face a grim war of attrition against an ad hoc army of Muslims led by the feared Murad Bey. Marching across seemingly endless deserts in the shadow of the pyramids, suffering extremes of heat and thirst, and pushed to the limits of human endurance, they would be plagued by mirages, suicides, and the constant threat of ambush. A crusade begun in honor and intended for glory would degenerate toward chaos and atrocity.

But Napoleon’s grand failure in Egypt also yielded vast treasures of knowledge about a culture largely lost to the West, and through the recovery of artifacts like the Rosetta Stone, it prepared the way for the translation of hieroglyphics and modern Egyptology. And it tempered the complex leader who believed it his destiny to conquer the world.

A story of war, adventure, politics, and a clash of cultures, Paul Strathern’s Napoleon in Egypt is history at once relevant and impossible to put down.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Paul Strathern

See more books from this Author
Paul Strathern was born in London in 1940. He studied physics, chemistry, and math at Trinity College, Dublin, before switching to philosophy. He is the author of several novels, including A Season in Abyssinia, which won a Somerset Maugham prize, and two highly successful series of short introductory books, Philosophers in 90 Minutes and The Big Idea: Scientists Who Changed the World. Paul Strathern lectures in philosophy and science at Kingston University.
 
Published October 14, 2008 by Bantam. 514 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Napoleon in Egypt

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

It’s well established that Napoleon fancied himself a new Alexander the Great, eyes voraciously turned on conquering Egypt and then India, and the author crafts a solid account of the young general’s ambitions.

Sep 01 2008 | Read Full Review of Napoleon in Egypt

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

(Cole gives an interesting explanation, not available in other accounts, of how the Egyptians had exploited outbreaks of plague in the years before Napoleon’s arrival as a means of fending off Ottoman control of the region, and hence were well versed in the tactics of using local misery to defeat...

Jan 06 2008 | Read Full Review of Napoleon in Egypt

Christian Science Monitor

Napoleon Bonaparte sailed from Italy with an army of nearly 40,000 men – along with another, smaller army of scientists, engineers, artists, and linguists, the so-called “Savants” – to conquer Egypt.

Oct 30 2008 | Read Full Review of Napoleon in Egypt

BookPage

The revolutionary government in France had no control over Napoleon during his three years in the Middle East - thanks largely to a British naval blockade - making him not just a military governor, but de facto Sultan of Egypt and ruler of all he surveyed.

Jul 14 2015 | Read Full Review of Napoleon in Egypt

BookPage

The revolutionary government in France had no control over Napoleon during his three years in the Middle East - thanks largely to a British naval blockade - making him not just a military governor, but de facto Sultan of Egypt and ruler of all he surveyed.

| Read Full Review of Napoleon in Egypt

Historical Novel Society

The 28-year-old ambitious and power-driven Napoleon, French plans for empire at the cost of British interests, Britain’s stalwart resistance, interplay between Muslim and Christians, Murad Bey and Ibrahim Bey and the new world they confront—all this in a finely crafted book.

| Read Full Review of Napoleon in Egypt

Bookmarks Magazine

A crusade begun in honor and intended for glory would degenerate toward chaos and atrocity.

But Napoleon’s grand failure in Egypt also yielded vast treasures of knowledge about a culture largely lost to the West, and through the recovery of artifacts like the Rosetta Stone, it prepared the...

Nov 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Napoleon in Egypt

Reader Rating for Napoleon in Egypt
85%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 19 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×