Napoleon and Hitler

Desmond Seward, Author Viking Books $19.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-670-81480-0
The many similarities between Napoleon and Hitler, as charted in Seward's comparative biography, are striking indeed. The Emperor, an upstart Corsican street urchin, and the Fuhrer, a rootless Austrian petit bourgeois and failed artist, were both outsiders and self-made foreigners in their adopted countries. Each was a colossal opportunist, a megalomaniac, a loner who despised the rest of humanity. They both loathed intellectuals and silenced them by means of censorship and secret police; both tyrants overextended their troops and ultimately destroyed themselves by invading Russia. Seward, whose books include Henry V and Napoleon's Family , presents an edifying, unconventional dual portrait, the sort of book that will rattle academic historians. One may take exception to his view that Napoleon's dictatorial quest for power was motivated simply by self-aggrandizement, and many may find some of his comments on Hitler insensitive or obtuse. Yet the psychological parallels he draws are uncanny and well worth pondering. Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-671-70187-1
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-09-476580-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-0187-0
Paperback - 316 pages - 978-1-909609-72-3
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