In 1806 an enthusiastic young Frenchman Maurice de Tascher embarked on a career as a soldier in Napoleon's Grand Arm e. He was inspired by the emperor's triumphs and determined to win glory and serve his country. In 1813, disillusioned by war and doubtful about the honor of the French cause, de Tascher died in Berlin, a victim of Napoleon's disastrous war against Russia. This is his story.
In the summer of 1812 Napoleon gathered his fearsome Grande Arm e, more than half a million strong, on the banks of the Niemen River. He was about to undertake the most daring of all his many campaigns: the invasion of Russia. Meeting only sporadic opposition and defeating it easily along the way, the huge army moved forward, advancing ineluctably on Moscow through the long hot days of summer. On September 14, Napoleon entered the Russian capital, fully anticipating the Czar's surrender. Instead he encountered an eerily deserted city--and silence. The French army sacked the city, and by October, with Moscow in ruins and his supply lines overextended, and with the Russian winter upon him, Napoleon had no choice but to turn back. One of the greatest military debacles of all time had only just begun.In this famous memoir, Philippe-Paul de S gur, a young aide-de-camp to Napoleon, tells the story of the unfolding disaster with the keen eye of a crack reporter and an astute grasp of human character. His book, a fundamental inspiration for Tolstoy's War and Peace, is a masterpiece of military history that teaches an all-too-timely lesson about imperial hubris and its risks.
Eighteen-year-old German stonemason Jakob Walter served in the Grand Army of Napoleon between 1806 and 1813. His diary intimately records his trials: the long, grueling marches in Prussia and Poland, the disastrous Russian campaign, and the demoralizing defeat in a war few supported or understood. It is at once a compelling chronicle of a young soldier's loss of innocence and an eloquent and moving portrait of the profound effects of all wars on the men who fight them.
Also included are letters home from the Russian front, previously unpublished in English, as well as period engravings and maps from the Russian/Soviet and East European collections of the New York Public Library.
"Vivid and gruesome ... but also a story of human fortitude. ... It reminds us that the troops Napoleon drove so mercilessly were actually more victims than victors--a side of Napoleon that should not be forgotten."
A reference work on the Napoleonic Wars which covers all the important soldiers, sailors, strategies, armaments and battles that shaped Napoleon's career. Includes information on the campaigns led by Napoleon as well as related events such as the Peninsular War.
Alongside the Spanish army in the campaign against Napoleon (1808-1814) was an assortment of freebooters, local peasants, and bandits who were organized into ad hoc regional private armies. These "guerrillas"--a term introduced to the English language during the Peninsular War--ambushed French convoys, attacked French encampments, and pounced upon, dodged, and fought French columns, often with extreme brutality. This book investigates for the first time the irregular Spanish forces and their role in resisting Napoleon.
Delving deeply into previously untapped archival resources, Charles Esdaile arrives at an entirely new view of the Spanish guerrillas. He shows that the Spanish war against Napoleon was something other than the great popular crusade of legend, that many guerrillas were not armed civilians acting spontaneously, and that guerrillas were more often driven by personal motives than high-minded ideology. Tracking down the bandit armies and assessing their contributions, Esdaile offers important insights into the famous "little war" and the motives of those who fought it.
The twentieth century is usually seen as "the century of total war." But as the historian David Bell argues in this landmark work, the phenomenon actually began much earlier, in the era of muskets, cannons, and sailing ships--in the age of Napoleon.In a sweeping, evocative narrative, Bell takes us from campaigns of "extermination" in the blood-soaked fields of western France to savage street fighting in ruined Spanish cities to central European battlefields where tens of thousands died in a single day. Between 1792 and 1815, Europe plunged into an abyss of destruction. It was during this time, Bell argues, that our modern attitudes toward war were born. In the eighteenth century, educated Europeans thought war was disappearing from the civilized world. So when large-scale conflict broke out during the French Revolution, they could not resist treating it as "the last war" -- a final, terrible spasm of redemptive violence that would usher in a reign of perpetual peace. As this brilliant interpretive history shows, a war for such stakes could only be apocalyptic, fought without restraint or mercy. Ever since, the dream of perpetual peace and the nightmare of total war have been bound tightly together in the Western world--right down to the present day, in which the hopes for an "end to history" after the cold war quickly gave way to renewed fears of full-scale slaughter. With a historian's keen insight and a journalist's flair for detail, Bell exposes the surprising parallels between Napoleon's day and our own--including the way that ambition "wars of liberation," such as the one in Iraq, can degenerate into a gruesome guerrilla conflict. The result is a book that is as timely and important as it is unforgettable.
In the summer of 1804, the eagle was chosen as the symbol of the French Army by Napoleon himself. The Emperor's sculptor, Chaudet, made the original model, and from this were cast bronze copies in the workshop of Thomire, which would be proudly borne into battle by many a French regiment. This fascinating work by Terence Wise explores in depth the flags, colours and guidons of the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), concentrating on France and her allies, and covering every faction from Baden to W rzburg. This book is a must for anyone interested in this fascinating topic.
Rehabilitates the British cavalry's reputation in the Peninsula and at Waterloo by demonstrating the greater number of cavalry successes, many of which have long been forgotten.
"Gripping . . . a compelling story of personal hubris and humbling defeat."
--Jack Weatherford, author of the New York Times bestseller Genghis Khan and the Making of the