January 21, 2009 cameron

The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast #49 – Michael Kroger

Breaking away from talking to historians about Napoleon, today we have as our guest Australian businessman and political powerbroker, Michael Kroger.

Michael joins us to discuss his fascination with Napoleon, which extends to having 5 floors of his Melbourne mansion decorated in the Empire Style and owning (among other things) one of only seven original copies of “Napoleon After The Abdication” from the school of Paul Delaroche. He tells us about his love of the work of Percier and Fontaine, the chief exponents of the French Empire style of decorative arts and how he applies the lessons from Napoleon’s fall to both his business and political careers.




Comments (20)

  1. DonQ

    Cameron, I suspect that the difference in cost you cited between the 2005 and the 2009 US Presidential Inaugural is based on inaccurate figures. In 2005, the media reported a $42M cost without adding in security. In 2009, the figure widely reported was $160M, which included security. The 2009 cost without security was reported as $45M.

    Comparing apples to oranges ($42M to $160M) would indeed appear to yield a fourfold increase in cost; comparing apples to apples ($42M to $45M) puts the 2005 and 2009 costs in the same range.

    And now, I’ll go back to Podcast #49, which I’m enjoying!

  2. Cameron, just a quick question which I think most of the people here are interested in: how’s the video coming along from the INS Congress in Ajaccio this past summer? I, and I’m sure many others as well, are most anxious to obtain a copy!

  3. Cameron

    Don – you’re right, I found that out later as well (about how Bush’s first inauguration cost didn’t include government expenditure). HOWEVER – my point is still that, in the worst economic crisis the US has experienced in 80 years, the first act of your new President (who is supposed to be about CHANGE) is to blow $160m on a party.

    Nicholas – yeah I know, sorry mate, david’s been asking too. I’ve got a goal to have it ready soon. End of January!

  4. Paul Caspall

    Hi Cameron

    Just finished listening to all the Napoleon podcasts (so far). Been listening to them for the last 3 weeks since I discovered this whole thing. Better late than never eh?!

    Thanks to both yourself and David for doing this. I know it’s a labour of love for both of you, but it’s a hell of a service to the community too. And your podcasts have got me right back into Napoleon. I first became ‘obsessed’ with him at the age of 9 when my parents took me to many of his residences in France and other places in Europe (eg Isola Bella), but it was the Louvre that really blew me away. Those portraits of him, especially by David and Gros! Anyway, to cut a long story short, my portrait of Bonaparte at Arcole went up on the study wall a few days ago, and I started collecting lithographs and old books on the period. Was fortunate to acquire the 1799 English translation of Pommereul’s ‘Campaign of General Buonaparte in Italy in 1796-7’, amongst a growing collection of other gems. Which brings me to my question…

    I’d like to watch the video podcast you did with David (#36), to see some of his collection, etc., but when I click on the link it basically says ‘File Not Found’. I tried accessing it from iTunes with the same result. Help? Or is this one of the files still being repaired/uploaded again?

    I’m also keen to watch the INS Congress video when you release it.

    Thanks again, and keep it going!


    Paul (in Geelong)

  5. Agki

    I too am rather frustrated by the misinformation that is being promulgated about the Obama inauguration. I am glad that Cameron checked the real costs and found that the Bush 2005 and Obama 2009 inaugurations were roughly the same. The fact is that here in the US the right-wing commentators (Hannity, Limbaugh and others) are making much hay by using Bush’s figures without adding in the security costs but including them (with exaggerations) in the Obama costs. It’s been refuted thoroughly but, just as the story that Napoleon escaped to New Orleans (as in the film “Monsieur N”) will not die, this one will not either. I don’t expect a correction from Fox News.

    Anyway, I also, to an extent, resent the comments by Cameron regarding the celebration in the face of the current economic “crisis” (manufactured by 8 years of Republican policy). This inauguration is so historic that there was no way of keeping those two or so million people out of Washington last week. After over a century since emancipation, we are at last approaching racial equality with an African-American president. That must be celebrated loudly. Even in the face of the economic situation, it was reasonable.

    Eh bien! Je vais retourner a Napoleon! Vive la revolution!

  6. Cameron


    I understand that the election of an African-American is a significant and historic occasion and should be celebrated. I also understand that the United States is in the worst financial situation that it’s been in since the Great Depression and it’s having global effects.

    Don’t tell me Obama couldn’t have held a press conference and said “Don’t come to Washington – stay at home, have a glass of bubbly, let’s party when we actually ACCOMPLISH something.”

    How can spending $160 million on a party be reasonable in the current financial circumstances? I see it as wholly irresponsible, particularly from a new President who was elected on the platform of “change”.

    If a new CEO took over a large corporation with $10 trillion in debt and his first act was to throw a $160 million celebration that he got the job, even if he was the first African-American CEO the company had ever had, what do you think the reaction of the Board and Shareholders would be?

  7. Cameron

    Oh hey Paul! Sorry. I’ll try to find a copy of that video and re-upload it asap!

  8. Cameron

    Paul – seems I don’t have a local copy of the video from Episode 36. Good news though – the DVD pack from Ajaccio will feature an EXTENSIVE look at David’s collection, because I spent a day at his house in October. πŸ™‚ Should be available soon!

  9. Jason

    Hey Cameron,

    Forgive me if this has been answered elsewhere, but will the David’s Collection and Ajaccio video be available to the public?

    If so, how can I get my mits on a copy?

    Love the podcasts…best stuff to ever get downloaded to my iPod….oh and the answer to your question:

    “If a new CEO took over a large corporation with $10 trillion in debt and his first act was to throw a $160 million celebration that he got the job, even if he was the first African-American CEO the company had ever had, what do you think the reaction of the Board and Shareholders would be?”

    Answer: In the USA he would get a government bailout, take a trip to Vegas, buy a $35,000 toilet for his private washroom and then give himself a huge bonus for all his hard work…..That’s how we roll in the USA lately. πŸ˜‰

  10. Cameron

    Jason, thanks for asking about the Ajaccio DVD! I’m working on it now. Nearly finished. Should be for sale in a few weeks!

  11. Nato

    I’ve been catching up on the last 5 or so episodes and I just listend to #49 now. David invented a quote which I think sounded splendid – “You don’t have to like Caligula to like columns”. I’m going to try to use it sometime.

  12. Larry

    Hello –

    I just discovered ‘The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast’.

    Can anyone tell me how to go all the way to #1 so I can hear them all?

    Fell free to e-mail me at: correus at yahoo dot com

    I would really like to hear them all!!

    Thanks for the help.

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