Uber-blogger and Middle East historian Juan Cole has a new blog on Napoleon Bonaparte's invasion of Egypt, the first modern invasion of the Middle East by a Western power. It's called Napoleon's Egypt and goes along with Cole's new book, Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East. Cole is appears to be going through the invasion chronologically, quoting from memoirs and and biographies written at the time -- in the excerpt below, from an eye-witness account of how Napoleon came decide on invasion:
'In the month of August 1797 he [Bonaparte] wrote "that the time was not far distant when we should see that, to destroy the power of England effectually, it would be necessary to attack Egypt."More from that except here.
In the same month he wrote to Talleyrand, who had just succeeded Charles de Lacroix as Minister of Foreign Affairs, "that it would be necessary to attack Egypt, which did not belong to the Grand Signior [Ottoman Emperor]." Talleyrand replied, "that his ideas respecting Egypt were certainly grand, and that their utility could not fail to be fully appreciated."