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The French side of the Napoleonic Wars is often seen from a strategic point of view, or in terms of military organization and battlefield tactics, or through officers' memoirs. It is rarely seen from the perspective of the lowest ranks of the army, and the experience of the ordinary soldiers is less well known and is often misunderstood. That is why this account, based on more than 1,600 letters written by French soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, is of such value. It adds to the existing literature by exploring every aspect of the life of a French soldier during the period 1799-1815. The book will be fascinating and informative reading for military and cultural historians, but it will also appeal to anyone who is interested in the war experience of common soldiers. It offers the English-speaking audience a French view of a conflict which is too often limited to the traditional memoirs of Captain Coignet, Colonel Marbot or Sergeant Bourgogne.
This book offers a new perspective on the cultural politics of the Napoleonic Empire by exploring the issue of language within four pivotal institutions - the school, the army, the courtroom and the church. Based on wide-ranging research in archival and published sources, Stewart McCain demonstrates that the Napoleonic State was in reality fractured by disagreements over how best to govern a population characterized by enormous linguistic diversity. Napoleonic officials were not simply cultural imperialists; many acted as culture-brokers, emphasizing their familiarity with the local language to secure employment with the state, and pointing to linguistic and cultural particularism to justify departures from which what others might have considered desirable practice by the regime. This book will be of interest to scholars of the Napoleonic Empire, and of European state-building and nationalisms.
The British army during the Napoleonic Wars is often studied using English sources and the British view of their French opponents has been covered in exhaustive detail. However, the French view of the British has been less often studied and is frequently misunderstood. This book, based on hundreds of letters, memoirs, and reports of French officers and soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, adds to the existing literature by exploring the British army from the French side of the battle line. Each chapter looks at a specific campaign involving the French and the British. Extensive quotes from the French soldiers who were there are complemented by detailed notes describing the context of the war and the career of the eyewitness. Throughout the emphasis is on the voices of the lower ranks, the conscripts and the noncommissioned and junior officers. They describe in their own words the full range of warfare during the period - not only land battles but battles at sea, including the Nile and Trafalgar - and accounts of captivity in England are included too. This original and revealing material gives a fascinating insight into the attitudes and concerns of the French soldiers of the period and their views about their British enemy.
Written by an experienced author and expert in the field, Wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, 1792-1815 provides a thorough re-examination of the crucial period in the history of France for students of history and military studies. Based on extensive research, and including twenty detailed maps, this study is unique in its focus on the wars of both the French Revolution and Napoleon. Owen Connelly expertly analyzes them both to provide a broader context for warfare. Examining the causes of the wars, and how the practices of warfare during this period were to influence mode of combat throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Connelly also establishes trends discernable in the First and Second World Wars and examines key issues including: * the impact of the population explosion on armies and war * the legacy of the ancient regime impact on revolutionary armies * the impact of the Revolution on leadership, strategy, organization and weaponry * Was Napoleon’s leadership style unique, or could another have played his role? * contributions from the governments of the early Revolution, the Terror, the Directory and the Napoleonic regime * What did twenty-three successive years of war accomplish? * Was this era a turning point in the history of warfare?
'Napoleon's legend is so persistent that it confounds the historical reality in the popular imagination. He himself contributed much towards the construction of his own myth, from his youth even until after he fell from power, when, while in exile, he dictated his memoirs to a group of disciples who took down his every word in the hope that his version of history would prevail. Such were Napoleon's skills as a chronicler that much of the legend is still unquestioningly accepted...' This second volume of Philip Dwyer's outstanding biography sheds further fresh light on one of the great figures of modern history. After a meteoric rise, a military-political coup in 1799 established Napoleon Bonaparte in government, aged just thirty. This meticulously researched study examines the man in power, from his brooding obsessions and capacity for violence, to his ability to inspire others and realise his visionary ideas. One of the first truly modern politicians, Napoleon skilfully fashioned the image of himself that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day; Philip Dwyer's ambitious, definitive work separates myth from history to offer us anew one of history's most charismatic and able leaders.
So great is the weight of reading on the subject of the Waterloo campaign that it might be thought there is nothing left to say about it, and from the military viewpoint, this is very much the case. But one critical aspect of the story has gone all but untold – the French home front. Little has been written about the topic in English, and few works on Napoleon or Revolutionary and Napoleonic France pay it much attention. It is this conspicuous gap in the literature that Charles Esdaile explores in this erudite and absorbing study. Drawing on the vivid, revealing material that is available in the French archives, in the writings of soldiers who fought in France in 1814 and 1815 and in the memoirs of civilians who witnessed the fall of Napoleon or the Hundred Days, he gives us a fascinating new insight into the military and domestic context of the Waterloo campaign, the Napoleonic legend and the wider situation across Europe.

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