This book tells the story of Napoleon, one of the most outstanding characters in European history, in a manner appropriate for grammar and middle school students. Napoleon was a young Corsican officer at the time of the French Revolution. He distinguished himself first in the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1798) and by 1804 had established himself as the undisputed head of France and crowned himself emperor. During the following decade he brought all of Europe under his power before losing everything after his disastrous march on Russia. He remains one of the most controversial characters of history.
NAPOLEON AS A BOY.
Each of us bears about within him a dark, strange room, through the closed doors of which none but himself and God may pass to see and know what lies therein. With some the room is small, and much is left without for all the world to see and know. With some the room is very large, shutting in perchance the whole true man. And when we meet with such an one, and ask ourselves if he be great or little, good or bad, we must, if we be honest, say "I know not, for I cannot understand."
Such was the great Napoleon. The strange dark room he bore within was very large. And though there be many who hold aloft a flaming torch, and cry, "Come, follow me, and I will show to you what lay in that dark place," in smoke and flare the light dies out, the darkness seems yet darker, and we know as little.
So, if you ask me is this Napoleon a true hero, I say, God—who alone has seen and knows what lay in that dark room—God knows.