I've read more than a few biographies of the Great Man, and the following I highly recommend:
Napoleon Bonaparte: An Intimate Biography by Vincent Cronin
The following is my review of the book:
"It is an excellent biography of Napoleon and is filled with excellent information on Napoleon the man and head of state, and concentrates on his civil achievements as First Consul and Emperor. It is very well sourced, and if the author's sources are checked, the reader will discover that the material is accurate as well as well-delivered.
Too many 'biographies' of Napoleon do nothing but regurgitate the old 'Corsican Ogre' theory that is based on the English and allied propaganda of the period. This volume explores Napoleon's actions, motivation, and achievements and after reading of this, Napoleon is shown to have been head and shoulders above his contemporary heads of state in Great Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, who were his main antagonists from 1803-1815.
Napoleon's reforms and achievements in law, education, bringing back the Church to France, rebuilding the infrastructure of France after ten years of revolutionary upheavals, ensuring civil rights and freedom of religion as well as providing France with firm and honest government are highlighted and explained by the author. Further, Napoleon's personality and strong character definitely come through in the narrative provided and whet the appetite for more research into the matter.
The most outstanding facet of the book, however, is the appendix which is a critique of various memoirs of the period on Napoleon. Those that are fairly accurate are pointed out, and those that defamed Napoleon to facilitate the personal aggrandizement of the memoir writer at Napoleon's expense are revealed. It is an outstanding guide to further study.
This is the best biography done in the last forty years and this viewpoint, a fair one, is being continued in the recent outstanding biographies on Napoleon by Andrew Roberts and Michael Broers, which are also highly recommended. This volume, however, is the starting point. The critics of this volume are critical because the book is sympathetic to Napoleon, which is an absolutely ridiculous position to take. Good history, well-researched should be the goal, and this volume is excellent history."
Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts:
"NOW A MAJOR BBC2 TV SERIES AWARDED THE PRIX DU JURY DES GRANDS PRIX DE LA FONDATION NAPOLÉON 2014 From Andrew Roberts, author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Storm of War, this is the definitive modern biography of Napoleon. Napoleon Bonaparte lived one of the most extraordinary of all human lives. In the space of just twenty years, from October 1795 when as a young artillery captain he cleared the streets of Paris of insurrectionists, to his final defeat at the (horribly mismanaged) battle of Waterloo in June 1815, Napoleon transformed France and Europe. After seizing power in a coup d'état he ended the corruption and incompetence into which the Revolution had descended. In a series of dazzling battles he reinvented the art of warfare; in peace, he completely remade the laws of France, modernised her systems of education and administration, and presided over a flourishing of the beautiful 'Empire style' in the arts. The impossibility of defeating his most persistent enemy, Great Britain, led him to make draining and ultimately fatal expeditions into Spain and Russia, where half a million Frenchmen died and his Empire began to unravel. More than any other modern biographer, Andrew Roberts conveys Napoleon's tremendous energy, both physical and intellectual, and the attractiveness of his personality, even to his enemies. He has walked 53 of Napoleon's 60 battlefields, and has absorbed the gigantic new French edition of Napoleon's letters, which allows a complete re-evaluation of this exceptional man. He overturns many received opinions, including the myth of a great romance with Josephine: she took a lover immediately after their marriage, and, as Roberts shows, he had three times as many mistresses as he acknowledged. Of the climactic Battle of Leipzig in 1813, as the fighting closed around them, a French sergeant-major wrote, 'No-one who has not experienced it can have any idea of the enthusiasm that burst forth among the half-starved, exhausted soldiers when the Emperor was there in person. If all were demoralised and he appeared, his presence was like an electric shock. All shouted "Vive l'Empereur!" and everyone charged blindly into the fire.' The reader of this biography will understand why this was so."
Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny by Michael Broers
"All previous lives of Napoleon have relied more on the memoirs of others than on his own uncensored words. This is the first life of Napoleon, in any language, that makes full use of his newly released personal correspondence compiled by the Napoléon Foundation in Paris. All previous lives of Napoleon have relied more on the memoirs of others than on his own uncensored words. Michael Broers' biography draws on the thoughts of Napoleon himself as his incomparable life unfolded. It reveals a man of intense emotion, but also of iron self-discipline; of acute intelligence and immeasurable energy. Tracing his life from its dangerous Corsican roots, through his rejection of his early identity, and the dangerous military encounters of his early career, it tells the story of the sheer determination, ruthlessness, and careful calculation that won him the precarious mastery of Europe by 1807. After the epic battles of Austerlitz, Jena and Friedland, France was the dominant land power on the continent. Here is the first biography of Napoleon in which this brilliant, violent leader is evoked to give the reader a full, dramatic, and all-encompassing portrait."
Napoleon: The Spirit of the Age by Michael Broers
"Like volume one of Michael Broers's magnificent biography, The Spirit of the Age is based on the new version of Napoleon's correspondence, made available by the Fondation Napoléon in Paris. It is the story of Napoleon's conquest of Europe—and that of his magnificent Grande Armée—as they sweep through the length and breadth of Europe. This narrative opens with Napoleon's as yet untested army making its way through the Bavarian Alps in the early winter of 1805 to fall upon the unsuspecting Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz. This was only the beginning of a series of spectacular victories over the Prussians and Russians over the next two years. The chronicle then follows the army into Spain, in 1808, the most ill-considered step in Napoleon's career as ruler, and then through the most daunting triumph of all, the final defeat of Austria at Wagram, in 1809, the bloodiest battle in European history up to that time."
Napoleon by Andre Castelot
"André Castelot was a French writer born in Belgium who wrote 65 biographies of famous persons in the History of France. He is perhaps best known for his biography of Josephine. His biography of Napoleon emphasizes not only his military campaigns, but his many love affairs and his many mistresses. It shows how his tumultuous relationship with Josephine influenced and affected his Napoleonic Code. It was because of Josephine's fickleness and unfaithfulness to Napoleon that Napoleon decreed that all women upon leaving their father's houses and entering into matrimony must understand that henceforth they are to be under the control of their husbands. Women cannot be trusted to be free, said Napoleon. Yet, Napoleon was easily influenced by women. On page 299 is recounted an incident where his Governor of Berlin had committed an act of treason, and had been arrested and faced death. Then, the man's wife, who was expecting a child, came and threw herself at the feet of Napoleon, begging forgiveness. With that, Napoleon ordered the man's release, something that Napoleon did not often do. Throughout this book, there are discussions of Napoleon's relationships with women, including his fears that he could not father a child or that a child who had been born was not really his."