THE YEARS OF ENDURANCE 1793-1802 by Arthur Bryant
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I hope this is made to look as interesting as it is, for the title gave me no hint of the fascination of the material and the aliveness of the handling. In August a book was published entitled Napoleon at the Channel by Carola Oman (Page 254-Doubleday). It was lively reading -- a period piece, showing England in the throes of dread of Napoleon's invasion, but going its own way. This book is an expansion of that idea; it is more than a social history -- in fact it is a serious study of the years when Revolutionary France was coming into conflict with Europe, and when Napoleon was beginning to grasp and hold, years in which England gained and lost wars and battles; years in which friends and foes played change about; years which ended with the empty Peace of Amiens. Again Britain showed its virtues under adversity -- but Bryant is not blind to its vices. Parallels for today need no elaboration -- in the corruption and breakdown of society, the denial of freedom of speech, the orgies of sadistic cruelty, the mass hatred, the denial of morality, the use of fifth columnists and Quislings. Old facts are refocused in the light of present experience. Some historians will feel that Bryant overstrains his parallels, is too eager to show Napoleon another -- more gifted -- Hitler. I found particularly interesting the waves of isolation, of appeasment, the unpreparedness, the early Munich as Halmsbury's mission to secure a ""Jacobin peace"" brought dismay to stout British hearts. Then there was Irish unrest, and the beginnings of hegemony in Southern India -- more links with today. Vigorous historical writing, with good pace, good balance.

ISBN: 1444600133
Publisher: Harper