The Napoleonic Wars have an important place in the history of Europe, leaving their mark on European and world societies in a variety of ways. In many European countries, they provided the stimulus for radical social and political change--particularly in Spain, Germany, and Italy--and are frequently viewed in these places as the starting point of their modern histories. In this Very Short Introduction, Mike Rapport provides a compact overview of these pivotal wars. He begins with the French Revolution and the French Revolutionary wars of 1792-1803, which set the stage for the rise of Napoleon, and then examines the Napoleonic Wars in two acts--the years in which the French dominated the European landscape and the years when an allied Europe fought back, leading to Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Rapport sheds light on the social, political, and institutional aspects of warfare in the Napoleonic era, and he provides a fascinating discussion of the ways and means with which these wars were fought, looking at the tactics, strategies, and weaponry of the time. Finally, he illuminates the significance of the wars, and their legacy, in both specific national contexts and from a wider global perspective.