Life of Napoleon Bonaparte - William Milligan Sloane 1896 - The Century Co., New York - First Edition Four magnificent and finely bound quarto volumes of this monumental history on Napoleon, ‘the product of many years of elaborate investigation, it was sumptuously illustrated and composed’. [DAB].

First edition, profusely illustrated with 80 colour plates, 200 black & white and tinted plates, and 17 maps.

Generally there is no mystery in the power of domination: he rules who is indispensable. The Jacobins needed a man, they found him in the unscrupulous Bonaparte; the Directory needed a man, they found him in the expert artillerist; France needed a man, she found him in the conqueror of Italy.’

‘Sloane, who believed "
there exists no record of human activity more complete" than Bonaparte's, also summed up Napoleon's failure in one word -- exhaustion. It was not until his opponents learned the lessons "which he taught his generals by a series of object demonstrations lasting 20 years, that the teacher began to diminish in success and splendor. Judged either historically or theoretically, the strategy of Napoleon is "original, unique and unexcelled." Sloane noted that this was Napoleon's greatest achievement, because it was "his most creative."’ [Vance]
  William Milligan Sloane (1850-1928) graduated from Columbia College of Columbia University (1868), and then taught classics at the Newell School in Pittsburgh (1868-72). From 1872 to 1876 he studied history at the universities of Berlin and Leipzig, under Mommsen and Droysen, and much of the time he worked as private secretary to George Bancroft, United States Minister at Berlin.

Sloane was professor of history at Princeton University (1883-96), edited the Princeton Review (1886-9), and in 1896 left to become professor of history at Columbia University. Sloane served on the International Olympic Committee (1894-1924), and was founder and chairman of the United States Olympic Committee, escorting the first American Olympic team to the 1896 Athens’ Olympics.

“Of Sloane’s writings, that which attracted the most attention was his Life of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was published originally in the form of a serial in the Century Magazine, beginning in November 1894, enlarged into four massive volumes in 1896… The product of many years of elaborate investigation, it was sumptuously illustrated and composed” (DAB).

Professor Sloane was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, President of the American Historical Association (1911), and his honours include the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour and of the Order of the Polar Star.

Reference: DAB. Tomas Vance,
The Lost Voices of Napoleonic Historians.

Quarto, four volumes, pp. [2] xvi 283 [3]; [2] xii 283 [3]; [2] xii 270 [2]; [2] xii 313 [3].

Collation (16/6/2016)
Vol.I - 20 colour 44 b&w 6 tinted 2 maps.
Vol.II - 20 colour 45 b&w 5 tinted 4 maps
Vol.III - 20 colour 45 b&w 5 tinted 9 maps
Vol.IV - 20 colour 45 b&w 5 tinted 2 maps
Summary - 80 colour plates, 200 b&w & tinted plates, 17 maps.
  Recently bound in three quarter burgundy crushed morocco, over matching cloth, spines titled and decorated in gilt, top edges gilt, others untrimmed.   Condition: Fine   Ref: 108160   Price: HK$ 13,000