March 30, 2006 cameron

#3 – Thermidor and A Whiff of Grapeshot!

Napoleon #003 (mp3 – 18Mb – 50mins)


In Episode #3 of Napoleon 101, we pick up where we left last time – Napoleon has just won the Battle of Toulon and is made a Brigadier General. He is 24.

This brings us to 1794 and the events of the month of Thermidor (July in the revolutionary calendar).

  • Napoleon’s relationship with Augustin Robespierre, and his older brother Maximillian, sees him thrown into prison.
  • He is released but still has his name struck off the list of artillery officers and transferred to infantry.
  • He takes two months sick leave and goes to Paris. Eventually he ends up working in the Topography Department of the Army.
  • Then we move to 1795 – Vendemaire. Paris is under attack and Napoleon meets Paul Barras.
  • Napoleon saves the day with a “whiff of grapeshot”.
  • As we finish this episode, Napoleon is made commander of the Army of the Interior, the largest army in France. He is only 26 years old.

In Episode #4, Napoleon will meet Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie (aka Josephine) and will take up the command of The Army of Italy!

If you are a Napoleon neophite, then you really must buy a copy of David’s recent book:


Comments (14)

  1. cd

    Excellent show!
    Edutainment at its best…really enjoyed it!

    Just a small comment…could you pls learn how to pronounce French names?
    Eg. Robespierre is not pronounced but

  2. hahaha thanks Christophe. Trust you to get caught up in such details! You never could go very long without correcting my work! 🙂

    Okay so tell me, how SHOULD we pronounce Robespierre?

    David, FYI, Christophe was one of my managers during my internment at Microsoft.

  3. cd

    Hey…my comment got edited or truncated or what? Is there censorship on this site???

    Robespierre should be pronounced: rob-s-p-err (there is no spear sound 🙂 )

    Love your work man…obviously you glossed over the praise (again :-))

    Also could u pls post the details of the music at the beginning of the show?

  4. yeah we have a “smart ass frenchman” filter. 🙂
    Robsperr huh? THere you go, I learn something every day from you CD!

    The music is from The 1812 Overture by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky commemorating the unsuccessful French invasion into Russia, and the subsequent devastating withdrawal of Napoleon’s Grande Armée, an event that marked 1812 as the major turning point of the Napoleonic Wars. The work is best known for the sequence of cannon fire, which is sometimes performed, especially at outside festivals, using real cannons. Not really a pro-Napoleon track, but the most evocative I had close to hand.

    You know I take neither praise nor criticism very well. But glad you’re enjoying the show. We’re having a bloody good time making it.

  5. cd

    Thanks…I have the CD somewhere…should dig it out…don’t remember the cannon fire though.

    It’s rob-s-p-err as is rob-ess-pee-err.

    Have you sorted the Google Earth links? Seems that we need to unzip the file and then copy them into GE?

  6. oh riiight. I get it. Can’t wait until i get that French chip installed. I’m sure Google’s working on it. The Google Earth links SHOULD work. They should just open up in GE.

  7. Great work on the podcast guys! I definently agree that it should be published once a week if you can manage it. Once a month is not enough! And go the aussies…

  8. Jacqui Brodin

    I am absolutely loving this podcast. My only complaint is that there is such a long time between episodes. I don’t suppose we can convince you to have these more frequently.

  9. Tim Van Dyck

    Dear David and Cameron,

    The 3th show was again a great one, I listened with much pleasure to it and it was, as the past 2, very interesting…As I only expected. Your efforts to show the real Napoleon are a fantastic contribution to the memory of the Emperor, like the International Napoleonic Society wants it…I hope the 4th one will coming soon.

    I also appriciate the fact that you hope that the moviemakers in Holleywood will make their story about the Emperor and Betsy like it was in reality, history is fasciniting enough on its one!

    Thanks again,


  10. Thanks Tim! Really appreciate your feedback. I know at least of the films, the one based on our friend Staton Rabin’s novel, is planning to be true to the story. I’m not sure about the other one. In my opinion, the truth is better than any fiction they could concoct. Here we have this powerful ruler of Europe, the ogre, the monster, as he was described to English children, and he turns out to spend the last years of his life in exile, befriending a 14 year old English schoolgirl, becoming her friend, mentor, confidante. I’ve always thought it was the perfect ending to that chapter of his life which was in every other way so tragic.

  11. Come on, guys! When is the next one? That should be a good one, hopefully even a little longer.

    BTW, much better sound quality on 3 EXCEPT that somebody kept hitting their mike.

  12. Anna from NC, USA

    This third installment was so so good. You clarified for me exactly what grapeshot was, because I had a foggy general idea. And all these exotic French names now have a definite pronunciation in my mind. God knows I’ve pronounced all of them several different wrong ways, so it was nice to know which of my many ways was right. Lol. Thanks again for sharing your Napoleonic knowledge with the net community.

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