This present volume is the third and final in a series of three which combined document the eleven years that Méneval served as Napoleon I’s private secretary. First published in English in 1910, these memoirs are the raw material utilized by many historians and are widely considered key to any understanding of Napoleon's rise and fall.
“OF the numberless books about Napoleon, this is one of the most interesting and authoritative, because intimate and sincere.
“The author, Claude François, Baron de Méneval, was in the closest relations with that notable personage, as private secretary and confidential agent, familiar with his daily thoughts and acts, during his most active years of achievement—from April, 1802, until St. Helena in 1815.
“De Méneval does not blink Napoleon’s greatest errors—the execution of D’Enghien, the disastrous Spanish seizure and war, and the Russian campaign—but, on the whole, the reader gets new views of perplexing problems and of noble traits in the colossus of intellect and ambition. Napoleon’s services in restoring a central power amidst revolution and anarchy, in establishing laws and institutions that have survived dynasties, and in the military glory making his name an emblem of splendid French achievement, enshrine him forever in France; while the rest of the world will never cease to wonder at his genius, and to study the puzzling contradictions of his nature.”