My Legion of Merit Award

So while I was in France I was presented with the quite-prestigious “Legion Of Merit” award by the La Société Napoléonienne (aka the International Napoleonic Society) for my “contribution to the promotion of Napoleonic history” via the Napoleon podcast I produce on TPN.

As you can see, I’m the 97th person to receive the award. It’s quite a thrill for a long-time Napoleon enthusiast such as myself, especially considering I’m neither a scholar nor a historian.

On my first trip to France four years ago, I visited all of the Napoleonic sites and dreamed of one day making a contribution to Napoleonic history. That was before I’d even heard of podcasting. So to be presented with this award four years later is pretty cool. Let that be a lesson to all you kids out there – you too can wear big gold bling around your neck. No wait, wrong lesson. Hmmm, let me refer to “CAMERON’S BOOK OF LESSONS”… oh yeah, here it is – “What You Conceive and Believe You Can Achieve”.

I think there are some videos and photos of me receiving the award which I’ll post up when I get them. Currently I’m still sitting in Changi Airport on my way home. It’s a SEVEN HOUR stopover. Unbelievable.

41 thoughts on “My Legion of Merit Award

  1. Congrats, Cameron! That’s awesome. I should actually should go subscribe to the podcast; I often think about doing that when you mention it, but since I usually listen while away from the computer, I never remember.

  2. Thanks guys. Rich, I did wear it around Paris for a couple of days to see if it got me free access to clubs and free drinks at absinthe bars but alas.

  3. Congrats on your Legion of merit award Cam..BTW, just a little bit off topic, was perusing through some of your older podcasts and came across the interview you did with Steve Sammartino. You guys touched briefly on his ‘investment style’ portfolio, which he adheres to [pretty cool stuff]. Any hope of you guys doing another podcast on ‘financial fundamentals’ and the like.

    Cheers

  4. Aubz, you’re right! I’m in Melbourne next week so I just emailed Steve and suggested we do the follow up show. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. WE NEED A NEW 4 HOUR MOVIE “WATERLOO” TO BE MADE SOON, with worldwide petiton!

    Great work by you two, Cameron and the honourable J. David Markam!!!!!.
    l’m a Melbourne born bred aussie, and want to say how much l am enjoying this wonderful important part of history, and it’s delight to listen to you both. This is especially great for my elimaniting my boredom, being unemployed for around 3 years, although l am about to find work in the security field hopefully soon.

    Just like you both, l’m a huge napoleon fan particularly facinated by the “battle of Waterloo” in which l have numerous books and dvds on this famous battle. And l have always wondered whether any large hollywood directors (James Cameron, Ridley Scott, etc) would ever make another ‘new’ WATERLOO movie this time leaving it UN-EDITED to a full 4 hour movie!!! That would be a huge EPIC with 3 hours devoted to making the BATTLE the star attraction! Can you imagine the publicity this type of epic movie would generate to the world with a possibility of new napoleon enthusiats in millions worldwide…

    Viva la emperour!!

    Michael of Down Under Aussieland

  6. Daniel, want to back up that pithy statement with some facts?

    Michael, I agree with you! Kubrick tried to make it, but never got around to it. Coppola also wanted to make it, but his career bottomed out before he had a chance. Who will do it?

  7. Well deserved Cameron.

    I’ve been enjoying the Napoleon Podcast from the very start of my podcast listening experence. You deserve it for bringing this history to the masses in a new form so we Philistines can learn of things that are not available as easy to access in other forms.

    That’s the strength of podcasting.
    (and you look so happy about it also):)

  8. Thanks again folks. Ian, I took that photo in the middle of a 7 hour stop over in Singapore after an 18 hour flight from Paris, gimme a break!

  9. Cameron what’s your def of a nazi? To me somebody that thinks he knows what the average man needs and forces his rule on them is a fucking nazi! If you don’t think about rite now what wrong unless you’re in pain?

  10. Well even by your definition Napoleon wasn’t a nazi. He never forced his rule on anyone. He was immensely popular in France, was voted Consul For Life by the people and then was made Emperor by the will of the people. When other European countries attacked France in the Revolutionary Wars, Napoleon defeated them and exercised France’s right as the victor to extract a series of reparations. With one exception (the invasion of Portugal), Napoleon NEVER started a war and NEVER broke a peace treaty.

  11. Congratulations Cam! And I’d like to suggest Tim Burton for your Napoleon epic. Ok, I’m kidding about Burton. But I’m not kidding about Tom Hanks & Steven Spielberg … they did magnificent work on the Band of Brothers series … particularly the battle sequences. Plus they have the added advantage of NOT being British! If you’d prefer a more quirky view of Nappy, how about Joss Wheadon of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel” and (his most magnificent work) “Firefly”? Ok, I’m probably kidding about Wheadon, but I’m not kidding about Hanks & Spielberg.

    Congratulations again!

    scot

  12. Awww shucks Scot, thanks! Yeah Whedon would rock! But I don’t think there’s room in Napoleon for hot teenage girls with a stake or for Captain Mal’s wisecracks. I love Burton’s work too – maybe a musical of Napoleon? There’s a guy in Seattle working on that already actually.

    As for Hanks / Spielberg – vomit! Talk about schmaltzy American fluff!

    Okay my final suggestion for the director of the Napoleon biopic is – John Woo. I can just see Napoleon leaping through the air, with his two 9mm pistols blazing away, as a flock of white doves fly around his head….

  13. John Woo is precicely the wrong guy … Napoleon would be wearing Wellington’s face! Very confusing for the viewers.

    Ang Lee … the ENTIRE battle of Waterloo could be staged as an aerial combat using wire fighting teams! The British troops could mass in the tops of the beautiful green bamboo forest … hovering there … waiting to hurl themselves forward as if propelled and held aloft by … wire fighting teams!

  14. While Napoleon believed in government “for” the people, he rejected government “by” the people. His France was a police state with a vast network of secret police and spies. The police shut down plays containing any hint of disagreement or criticism of the government. The press was controlled by the state. It was impossible to express an opinion without Napoleon’s approval. nazi This was taken from the Lucid Cafe site.
    Admittedly Napoleon did acertain amount of good althought no saint , he was a great general,but they don’t always make great leaders. If you had been in the military you might understand this a little better. Microsoft doesn’t count as military service but Gates might be a formidable general.

  15. Napoleon was a brilliant leader and administrator. He was the architect of the Code Napoleon which enshrined basic legal rights for all people into law and is still the basis of the legal system of France and much of Europe today. He re-introduced freedom of religion, created the Bank of France to stabilize the banking system, and introduced thousands of internal reforms which improved France greatly. It’s true that France under Napoleon had an internal police force and certain restrictions on the press, but they were also at war almost constantly – they had Royalists trying to overturn the revolution and re-install the Bourbons and they had pretty much every monarch in Europe trying to destroy France. Every country in history has had an internal police force and they are especially active during times of war. If you know so much about the military, you should understand that Napoleon was a wartime leader. It’s unrealistic to try to compare France in the early 19th century to a modern democracy. It wasn’t. Napoleon was trying to create a modern state, with basic rights and a meritocracy, out of a country which had been feudal for thousands of years, while he was fighting off attacks from the combined monarchs of Europe and England. It’s untrue that it was impossible to speak an opinion without Napoleon’s approval. That’s just bullshit. He had PLENTY of detractors in France. And there are NO records of Napoleon lining up his enemies to have them shot or gassed or even expelled from the country, so no, he wasn’t a ‘nazi’, far from it.

  16. You know Cameron you’re a pretty cool dude. You stand up for what you beleive in and maintain a level head. I was thinking about the concentration camps and thought no, Napolean was not quite that radical and who really knows what’s in the heads of someone saddle with that kind of responsibility. Maybe he was right for his time, I hope to God that somebody in the future doesn’t say that george bush was right for his time. If you’re getting an award for Napolean whoreship I don’t expect you to knock him. By the way I was in the military during wartime and I’ve seen first hand how they, generals ,admirals , etc. are , it’s an attitude of I’m right you’re wrong. So are you moving to France since N.B made it such a great place to live? You know Cameron you shouldn’t take someone like me too serious, life’s not black or white ,is it? Oh my deity it is:(

  17. Personally cameron, anybody who gets six million people kill in 17 years of war, for his own ego, is no hero of mine.

  18. What would you have him have done? Just sit in the Tulleries and let France’s enemies walk through the front door. As I said before, Napoleon didn’t START the wars. They were defensive.

  19. Who know cameron , it’s a tuff nut to crack this war or not. People like napoleon, hitler, gbush jr. you name em,who think they’re country or themselves are invincible and gives them the right to do what the hell they’re big egos like is insane! Was ever country in Europe about to attack France after seeing what napoleon had done to his foes? Napoleon is someone you hate or love depending on your disposition, he did a lot of good but to go to war for that long:(
    Do you think that it’s alright for Israel to go to war with everyone in the middle east because they want them annihilated?

  20. Daniel, have you ever listened to my Napoleon podcast? The reason we do it is to dispel the incorrect myths you are spouting here, myths which were spread by the British for 200 years. I’m sorry mate, but you don’t seem to be aware of the facts. Let me take you through a couple of the basics:

    1. France was at war with the rest of Europe BEFORE Napoleon was even in power. After the French Revolution (which Napoleon had nothing to do with), the rest of the Monarchs of Europe attacked France. Why? Because they wanted the Revolution to fail – for the same reason the USA attacked every country that seemed to be going communist in the 20th century – they knew that if it succeeded there, their own people would try it on. So NAPOLEON DIDN’T START WARS, that’s just wrong.

    2. Once Napoleon became a general (in 1796), he was responsible for several important victories against France’s enemies. He signed peace treaties with every country he defeated. This continued after he became Consul and Emperor – the countries he signed peace treaties with (mainly Austria, Prussia, Russia and England) kept BREAKING the treaties and attacking him. Again – NAPOLEON DIDN’T START WARS. His battles were all defensive. The only exception that I’m aware of is his invasion of Portugal, which was stupid and arrogant.

    So… you can’t compare Napoleon to Hitler or Bush or Israel. Napoleon didn’t start conflicts. He defeated enemies who attacked France, then signed peace treaties with them, which they broke, time and time again. How is this his fault?

  21. In June of 1812, Napoleon began his fatal Russian campaign, a landmark in the history of the destructive potential of warfare. Virtually all of continental Europe was under his control, and the invasion of Russia was an attempt to force Tsar Alexander I to submit once again to the terms of a treaty that Napoleon had imposed upon him four years earlier.
    Mr. Reilly was russia on the verge of attacking france then or do you think they would have? I’m not really comparing napoleon to Bush or Hitler in anyway except for their arrogance,I realize he was a brilliant individual. Look I don’t know why I get into these kind of arguments, it comes down to he said she said thing and sometimes the writer of the events is biased. I should have just congradulated you on your award and left it at that
    Congrats! I do truly do appreciate your podcast network and hardly ever listen to anything in the states.

  22. Daniel, don’t get me wrong – I love this debate. I started the Napoleon show in order to get discuss these very things! So it’s a good discussion. At least I think so.

    The quote that you borrowed from geographia.com is interesting in itself.

    Tsar Alexander had to “submit” to the treaty Napoleon “imposed” on him?? Alexander started a war against Napoleon and lost. Treaties are ALWAYS imposed by the victorious as a penalty for starting a war in the first place. Wars cost money and lives and the defeated have to pay a penalty. Nothing special in this case.

    The truth is – Napoleon invaded Russia when Tsar Alexander declared war on France, by breaking off all communication and started amassing forces on the border. I’ve read several books on the Russian campaign (including the recent & most excellent 1812 by Adam Zamoyski) and the facts are clear – Alexander CHOSE to go to war with France, breaking the Treaty he signed in Tilsit. He was under enormous pressure to go to war with France from the Russian nobility (who were afraid that the Russian peasents would rise up against them as the French had), including his sister Catherine.

    So, he ignored Napoleon’s MANY written pleas to settle their differences peacefully and he sent Napoleon’s envoys away from Moscow without a response. Alexander, by his silence and actions, declared war on France – a country he had signed a peace treaty with.

    This is FACT. And, as far as I know, nobody disputes these facts. Zamoyski certainly isn’t pro-Napoleon. And these are his facts he obtained from the Russian archives.

    So tell me – how can THIS be blamed on Napoleon? Napoleon wanted to marry Alexander’s sister for crying out loud! He had sent many proposals to Alexander to deepen their relationship and Alexander just ignored him.

    Was Napoleon arrogant? Absolutely. I don’t deny that. But it was fairly justified. He had risen from nowhere to defeat the combined armies of Europe, over and over again. At the same time he had re-written the legal system of France and initiated thousands of welcomed reforms which paved the way for modern Europe. He was brilliant, not just as a commander of armed forces, but as an administrator and visionary.

  23. Cameron your’e so compassionate about neopolean that is hard to break your armour.
    why did all these countries want to go to war with france, where they setting on some kind of gold mine? Did napoleon try to retify the problem by going to war for 16 years? How many people do you think would have died if he hadn’t went on that course? If you think war accomplishes anything then I assume you think g. bush knows what the fuck he started! Again I say He said She said ,ask your self would you give up your children for a country or a leader’s ideals or ego?

  24. You continue to miss my point Daniel.

    1. Why did these countries want to go to war with France? Because France had a revolution which overthrew their “Divine Right of Kings”. Do you think the Nobility of Europe were excited by that? They wanted to defeat France’s revolution and re-instate the Bourbon kings (which, eventually, they actually did).

    2. Napoleon was DEFENDING France! They were being attacked, as I’ve said before. They were constantly attacked by the other nations, who broke peace treaty after peace treaty. What should Napoleon have done? Just let France be invaded?

    If my country was being invaded in order to install a Monarch, YES I’d go to war to defend my right to self-determination.

    If you want to blame Napoleon for the Revolutionary Wars, then demonstrate how he was at fault. Show me evidence that he initiated the conflicts, that he was the aggressor. George Bush *is* an aggressor. He launched a pre-emptive attack against Iraq and Afghanistan. They are completely different stories mate.

  25. The point I was making with Bush and Napoleon was that perhaps they were both overly paranoid about their situations. Of course we know that bush is the biggest dumb ass in U.S history, but Napoleon ,couldn’t he have come up with something better than 16 million dead? Wasn’t there any sane leaders in europe at that time? I know it’s pointless to argue about something dead and gone,but I learned alot about Napoleon from you and appreciate the correspondence. I concede to your vast knowledge of the subject and hope you forgive some of my crudeness.

  26. 6 million sorry. i thought of this as i watered my lawn. anywho i also thought of a question while doing aforsaid task. did napoleon ever lead his troups into combat or was he the guy that stood on the hill and watched? just curious:)

  27. In the early days Napoleon always lead his troops into battle. Once be became Emperor he was more likely to stand on the hill and direct events. But he was always on campaign with his troops, always putting himself in danger, which was totally different to every other monarch in Europe. Most of them stayed in their castles.

    Dude as for the “couldn’t he have come up with something better” and “overly paranoid”, I think you misunderstand the times he lives in. The 18th and 19th centuries were militaristic. The countries of Europe were constantly at war with each other. It had always been that way. So when another country is threatening to invade you, you can be pretty sure they ARE going to invade you. So when another country has broken off communication with you, sent your ambassadors away, and is building an army on your border, what would YOU do?

  28. Attack Eygpt:) Cameron I posted several comments on this post and none went throught. You kind of run out of steam when you say the same stuff several times. Jesus cameron I’ve got to give my brain a break, I don’t know how you can do this shit day after day ,but you have no choice do you:( Of course me either:( I mow my yard and go to work.I won’t say any more about Napoleon except thanks for the stimulus it was a great history lesson and I’m sure that was your intent! Keep stimulating me:):):):):!!!!!

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