Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World. By Justin Marozzi. Da Capo. $18.
Napoleon and the Hundred Days. By Stephen Coote. Da Capo. $15.95.
The reprinting of these very fine biographies as paperbacks provides an opportunity to appreciate, once again, just how good they are. Tamerlane is the story of a conqueror on the scale of Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan, who eventually imposed his rule from Syria to India, as far south as the Mediterranean and as far north as Siberia. But his vast empire crumbled within a few decades of his death, and while he became the symbol of newly independent
British biographer Stephen Coote’s Napoleon and the Hundred Days is jam-packed with background even before it starts its main narrative about Napoleon’s escape from Elba and fast march through Europe and to Waterloo. Coote is quite even-handed in showing Napoleon’s genius while analyzing not only how his return from