The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast, also known as Napoleon 101, is a great audio series on Napoleon and the Napoleonic era. The show is now basically complete, having started in 2006, but the content is essentially timeless. The series consists of about 58 episodes that average 60-90 minutes apiece. So altogether there is well over 80 hours of material. The show features historian and educator J. David Markham, President of the International Napoleonic Society and Cameron Reilly, CEO of The Podcast Network. Mr Markham has written a number of books on Napoleon, including Napoleon for Dummies, and does a great job delivering the life and times of Napoleon.
You can certainly jump into any particular episode that interests you but we very much enjoyed starting from episode #1 and going straight through. If you do not start with the early episodes be aware that the show is obviously pro-Napoleon but the hosts will generally admit when they are being biased and also indicate topics that are often in dispute. In later shows they even have a number of guests that disagree with some of their own interpretations. The goal of the show is to spark your own interest in Napoleon and the period to lead you to further study of your own.
Overall the podcast is extremely well done. Audio quality is generally very good although some shows have some minor issues. Also there is often a sound level difference between the two hosts that can be a minor annoyance.
As with any show there are various complaints found throughout the show comments. One common complaint is about the off topic chit chat. This does appear in most episodes, especially later ones, but is mostly kept to a minimum and usually just in the beginning of each episode. After all, the podcast is not an academic lecture but simply a show — Some banter among the hosts should be expected. Another frequent complaint is over the occasional political shots at the Bush administration (the show was mostly recorded from 2006-2009). Again, these are very infrequent and minor. You will need to be extremely thin skinned for these to detract from your enjoyment of the show. We found the occasional comparisons of Napoleonic events with the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars interesting.
Overall, as newcomers to the Napoleonic era, we found the series incredibly valuable and entertaining. Combined with the recent bounty of Napoleonic games and miniature rules it has spurred us on to further reading and research into the period. Frankly we are shocked at ourselves for having ignored such a fascinating period of history all these years. If you think you have any interest in Napoleon or military history you should give at least the first few episodes of this show a listen.