This is a popular history of the first half of the Napoleonic Era written during 1941. The author’s introduction is interesting, as his main purpose is to remind the British public that they’ve fought a Europe united under a hostile leader, and won, before.

So, it’s about 80 years old at this point, and still does fairly well. Like, say, Churchill, Bryant is opinionated, there is a moral lesson to be had, and he is not at all afraid to let his opinions be known. This volume runs from the rise of the First Republic through the Treaty of Amiens. There’s two further volumes, for everything after Amiens, and the Congress of Vienna.

Overall, the writing is good, and it makes for a fairly good popular history, especially as long as you remember the point of view is going be distinctly pro-British. He does point out the economic troubles and dislocations Britain was going through (I can’t speak to his thoughts on causes and outcome), and has good coverage of the mutinies in the Royal Navy. The main weakness is to see an unalterable morality underlying everything (which Britain is generally, but not inevitably, superior in); that said, one of his main critiques against Revolutionary France and Napoleon is hubris, is not a bad judgement.

I’d have to say that there’s no way to give this any unqualified approval. But if you’re doing a bunch of lighter reading on the period, this worth including, and if you see it for decently cheap, it’ll be worth it. I got the Endeavor Press Kindle book on sale ages ago; it’s no longer available, which is a pity, because the text is in generally good shape for an OCR conversion.