Napoleon in Egypt
Paul Strathern is a rare example of an intellectual who is eminently qualified in diverse fields. An award-winning novelist, Strathern has also earned praise for philosophy and popular science writings. Now, he offers an endlessly fascinating and superbly written history of Napoleon’s futile attempt to conquer an eastern empire in 1798. This adventure remains the least studied of all Napoleon’s military and political efforts, and analysis of this topic has been long overdue. Readers will find the accounts of the Battle of the Pyramids, Lord Nelson’s brilliant victory on the Nile, and the larger-than-life Sir Sidney Smith to be as exciting as any fictional accounts of Hornblower and Sharpe. Warfare and politics are accompanied by descriptions of the discoveries of the long-buried riches from the Egyptian past. 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.