In a recent debate for 'intelligence squared', chaired by by Jeremy Paxman, and featuring authors Andrew Roberts and Adam Zamoyski, the last named of these debaters cited Caulaincourt on at least one occasion, possibly more. Zamoyski, who has himself written one of the best short accounts of the 1812 campaign, was using Caulaincourt as ammunition for his anti-Napoleonic position. But, as I was reading these memoirs at the time, it struck me very forcibly that Roberts could equally well have quoted things from them to support his pro-Napoleon argument! I think this fact alone conveys quite well how candid and broad Caulaincourt's treatment of his subject is.
Returning momentarily to the unusual insights this book gives into Napoleon the man (never mind the Great Man), I recall vividly a passage in which Napoleon and Caulaincourt discuss what might happen if they are intercepted en-route: after Napoleon checks that Caulaincourt has the pistols, and that they're loaded, they discuss the numerous grisly ends they might come to, all of which culminates in a near hysterical giggling fit.
Caulaincourt says of this episode: 'I never saw the Emperor in such good spirits, so human, so funny. His gaiety was so infectious that it was some time before we could speak a word without finding some fresh source of amusement ... I can't tell you what joy it gave me to see the great man laughing at this moment of supreme danger and nearly unbearable cold.'
This kind of Stoicism in the face of death and personal suffering is really quite incredible, and perhaps something that's hard for pampered civilians like myself to understand. Another interesting link here, is that whilst both Napoleon and Caulaincourt lost many dear to them in battle, they were both finally laid low by stomach cancer, Napoleon at the age of 51, and Caulaincourt at the age of 53.