Reviews: Periodicals

La Revue Napoléon

La Revue Napoléon. Issue number 1, First quarter 2000: covering January, February, and March 1800. Quarterly. 58 French francs for four issues. (In French)

La Revue Napoléon cover

This year of the bicentenary of Napoleon Bonaparte's coming to power brings many new French Napoleonic magazines. Guy Lecomte has taken up the challenge and has published a new quarterly magazine, La Revue Napoléon, which is only available by subscription. I had chanced to see an advertisement in a French magazine for this new journal. The historical director and writer of many of the articles is Alain Pigeard (Doctor in History). There are also articles by other prestigious authors like Jean Tulard, membre de l'Institut and Jean Tranié. The quality of these historians demonstrates the serious nature of this venture.

The plan of La Revue Napoléon is to follow month by month the events from two hundred years ago. Therefore this first issue deals with events which occurred during the first quarter of 1800. The 2nd issue will deal with events of the second quarter, and so on. The first issue adds the events of 1799 that brought the Napoleon¹s regime, the Consulate, to life (18 Brumaire).

This eighty-six page magazine is very well illustrated. It touches upon many different aspects of the history of this period, from the Garde des consuls to the Bank of France. "Tabloid" items are not forgotten either, with the wedding of Murat and Caroline Bonaparte featured. I find this diversity very interesting. The articles are clearly written, even those dealing with more difficult subjects like the Constitution of the Year VIII.

Here is the list of the articles of the 1st issue:

  • Tableau chronologique
  • Le coup d'etat du 18 Brumaire (Alain Pigeard)
  • La constitution de l'an VIII (Alain Pigeard)
  • Les ministres de l'an VIII (Roger Martin)
  • La mort du général Championnet (Jean Tranié)
  • La Garde des consuls (Alain Pigeard)
  • Les écrivains et Bonaparte (Arnaud Daniel)
  • La convention d'El Arisch et la bataille d'Héliopolis (Jean Tranié)
  • L'arrestation du financier Ouvrard (Jean-Pierre Léger)
  • La Banque de France: des débuts difficiles (Jean-Pierre Léger)
  • Les préfets et les départements (Daniel Cavalli)
  • L'armée de Réserve à Dijon (Vincent Bourgeot)
  • Les travaux de l'Institut d'Egypte: le Nilomètre (Christian Tranchart)
  • Le mariage de Murat et de Caroline Bonaparte (Alain Pigeard)
  • La création de la Préfecture de Police de Paris (Jean Tulard)
  • La réforme de la Justice (Alain Pigeard)
  • Le Cardinal Chiaramonti devient Pie VII (Roger Martin)

The magazine is printed on thick glossy paper. Interesting small point: there is a sheet of cardboard in the mailing envelope to protect the magazine in transit. I found that this periodical was worth the price. One caveat: it is necessary to understand French to fully appreciate this magazine. I don't think that the illustrations alone, regardless of the quality, would justify the purchase of the magazine if the purchaser could not read French.

The La Revue Napoléon is only available by subscription: 58 French francs for a one-year (four quarterly issues) subscription.

To order contact:

Editions de la Revue Napoléon
1079 route d'Annecy
Tel +33(0)4503291
Fax : +33(0)450329190
e-mail :

Reviewed by Marc Vanoverschelde


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