How Far From Austerlitz?: Napoleon 1805-1815

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A London Sunday Times Book of the Year
A Daily Telegraph Book of the Year

The Battle of Austerlitz was Napoleon's greatest victory, the culmination of one of the greatest military campaigns of all time. It was also the last battle the "Father of Modern Warfare" would leave in absolute triumph, for, though he did not know it, Austerlitz marked the beginning of Napoleon's downfall. His triumph was too complete and his conquest too brutal to last. Like Hitler, he came to believe he was invincible, that no force could halt his bloody march across Europe. Like Hitler, he paid dearly for his hubris, climaxing in bitter defeat at Waterloo in 1815. In a matter of years, he had fallen from grace. Alistair Horne explores the theme of military success and failure in How Far From Austerlitz? He chronicles Napoleon's rise and fall, drawing parallels with other great leaders of the modern era.

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About the author

Alistair Horne (1925-2017), described by C.P. Snow as "one of the best writers of history in the English-speaking world," is the recipient of the French Legion of Honor, a Wolfson Literary Award, the Hawthornden Prize, and the CBE. His A Savage War of Peace and A Bundle form Britain were both New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The Washington Post. Alistair Horne lived in England and was a trustee of the Imperial War Museum.
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Additional Information

Publisher
St. Martin's Griffin
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Published on
Nov 4, 2014
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9781466884649
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Military / Napoleonic Wars
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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True, first-hand accounts of combat and soldiering from the men who fought for Napoleon Bonparte and the First French Empire: “Fascinating stuff” (Stuart Asquith, author of Military Modelling).
 
The French side of the Napoleonic Wars is often presented from a strategic point of view, or in terms of military organization and battlefield tactics, or through officers’ memoirs. Fighting for Napoleon:French Soldiers’ Letters, 1799–1815, based on more than sixteen hundred letters written by French soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, shares the perspectives and experiences of the lowest, ordinary ranks of the army who fought on the frontlines.
 
Authors Bernard Wilkin and René Wilkin provide an informative read of common soldiers’ lives for military and cultural historians as well as a fascinating counterpoint to the memoirs of Cpt. Jean-Roch Coignet, Col. Marcellin de Marbot, or Sgt. Adrien Bourgogne.
 
“A superb guide to the experience and motivation of military service that is based on a wide trawl of relevant letters . . . A first-rate work that is of much wider significance.” —Professor Jeremy Black, author of The Battle of Waterloo
 
“Provides the reader with a good insight into the lives of ordinary French of the Napoleonic Wars . . . Direct accounts of campaigns and battle, recruitment and training, barrack life, the experience of captivity and being wounded are all here, based on letters written most by uneducated men to their immediate family . . . This really is fascinating stuff, and surely a ‘must’ for students of Napoleonic warfare.” —Stuart Asquith, author of Military Modelling: Guide to Solo Wargaming
It was Christmas Eve 1800. The streets of Paris were crowded with citizens. Some were shopping, some were eating and drinking. But others were plotting to murder the most famous and powerful man in France. They wheeled their improvised bomb into town earlier that day, and waited. Then, amongst the milling crowd, they saw the target. Despite knowing that the bomb would kill indiscriminately, the fuse was lit, and the enormous explosion wreaked havoc. The target for this early act of terrorism was Napoleon Bonaparte, who had seized power the year before and found himself the enemy of republicans and royalists alike. The terrorists belonged to the royal faction and although they failed to kill Napoleon, their atrocity hurled political violence in a new and terrifying direction; towards a now familiar place where civilian casualties would be collateral damage and where bombs in packed streets and squares would be the new conduit of terror. This book sets the scene with Napoleon’s coup and follows the cell of extremists as they prepare their plans and devise a weapon that became known as the ‘Infernal Machine’. After their attack, we follow the security services as they hunt down the perpetrators, baffled by the novelty of terrorism, as Napoleon uses public anger to launch a war on his opponents. Using first-hand accounts, trial transcripts and archival material - and with all the drama of a detective story - Killing Napoleon recounts one of the great crimes of its era, a story still largely unknown in the English-speaking world; and a precursor to the terrorist threats we know today.
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