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Given that Donald Trump has been routinely compared to Hitler and Mussolini, contrasting him to Napoleon might seem a compliment.
Unfortunately for The Donald, he tends to match up with Bonaparte in all the wrong ways while falling short in the right ones.
Accordingly, while the superficial similarities between the French dictator and the American developer might encourage Trump’s followers to believe he’s the strongman they’re looking for, they likely will wind up frustrated.
Having studied Napoleon in some depth for my Ethan Gage adventure novels and my collection of his aphorisms, “Napoleon’s Rules,” I think it’s instructive to look at ways the two men are alike and – more importantly – how they differ.
Bonaparte did “make France great again” – for a while. He ruled for roughly fifteen years and was extraordinarily successful the first half of his reign. But then came disastrous embroilment in Spain and Russia. By the time Napoleon was finally exiled in 1815, millions were dead and French boundaries were back to their 1791 pre-revolutionary origins. Europe was so exhausted that it didn’t quarrel as catastrophically again for 99 years, until World War I broke out.
Now Trump wants to “make America great again” without any detailed policy […]
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As a historical novelist and historian, I believe the past is key to understanding the present. As a movie buff, I believe films are a time capsule of the era in which they are made.
The Peter Pan theme of never growing up would be an example from recent cinema, in which man-child 30-somethings with a habit of slobbery and instant gratification resist adult responsibilities. They postpone parenthood and mortgages in favor of party-on in ways both immature and enviable.
I’m thinking of actors like Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Amy Schumer, Melissa McCarthy, and Hugh Grant, and movies such as Wayne’s World, About a Boy, The Hangover trilogy, The 40-year-old Virgin, and Failure to Launch, to mention just a few. Often funny, sometime exasperating, their scripts reflect the difficulty some young people have of getting started in our era of tumultuous economies, uncertain role models, and student debt.
It was a contrast, then, to catch 1949’s World War II bomber classic, “Twelve-O’clock High,” on TCM. Gregory Peck plays Army Air Force General Frank Savage as the Eighth Air Force begins its daylight bombing campaign against Germany in 1942.
This was a bare bones black and white production, with a Florida airfield filling in […]