Tim Pickles writes:
Re: Marengo mistakes: All true Jim, but Nap was not prepared to have 'History' see it that way. For 'History' he wanted the campaign to be seen as a master stroke from the master that was never in doubt. I think this attitude of 'I am never wrong' grew over the years whereas Welly was always cautious (though never timid) and never underestimated an enemy. Nap clearly did underestimate those opposed to him.
Jim: agreed! I've never seen a really thorough book that discusses in a comprehensive way Napoleon, the propagandist. It is common knowledge that he controlled tightly the Monitor and used it (and presumably other French newspapers) to spread misinformation, extravagant claims, lies about opponents designed to weaken their morale or raise trouble amongst his enemies' coalitions, etc. While such propaganda can eventually lose its effectiveness ("to lie like a Monitor" became part of the language of several european nations for a while) nevertheless, even though readers strongly suspected lies were being told, there was always an element of doubt sewn thereby... and doubt can lead to indecisiveness, bad decisions, etc., with Nappy right there to exploit the situation.
I guess the problem with a person in Napoleon's position, surrounded by flunkies, with a string of phenomenal successes behind one, is that you start to believe your own propaganda... the supreme realist who secured those early victories slowly turns in to the rather pathetic prisoner trying to write his version of events on St. Helena... yet even there, the creation of a legend did from a practical point of view help foster the cause of the Bonaparte dynasty. Too bad for the family fortunes his nephew and his "2nd Empire" constituted but a pale shadow of 'the master' and the glory days preceeding Russia 1812...!