Michael Glover paints a compelling portrait of the blind pursuit of fantastic political ends. Napoleon overthrew the Bourbon royal house of Spain even though it was the only significant ally which had never gone to war against him. The emperor's reasoning (such as it was) is presented by the author with due regard for his sources. Glover shows us Napoleon writing to Marshal Murat explaining in detail why an invasion of Spain cannot possibly succeed. On the same day as he penned this letter, Napoleon offered the Spanish crown to his older brother, Joseph. The results of this folly are presented in a superbly paced and meticulous narrative. King Joseph appears as a well-meaning incompetent. The French military commanders in Spain are presented as quasi-independent satraps, motivated by combinations of greed, lust for power, and mutual jealousy. Behind events are the figures of Napoleon and Wellington - the former trying to control Spanish affairs from as far away as Poland - the latter taking real control by remaining on the scene. Events build to a climax which seems both tragic and inevitable. Anyone interested in the Napoleonic period will benefit by this book. But more than that, Michael Glover presents a story which transcends a particular time and place to show us the folly resulting from any obsession which blinds political leaders to reality.

Legacy of Glory- The Bonaparte kingdom of Spain, 1808-1813

  • 1971 Charles Scribners Sons NY