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Napoleon Bonaparte: The background,…

Napoleon Bonaparte: The background, strategies, tactics and battlefield…

by Gregory Fremont-Barnes, Gregory Fremont-Barnes (Author)

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211761,743 (1.75)1
MILITARY HISTORY. Napoleon Bonaparte is renowned as one of the greatest military commanders in history, and the central figure in so many of the events of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Throughout the first decade of the 19th century he won battle after battle by wielding the Grande Armee decisively against the other powers of Europe - Prussia, Austria and Russia. Yet his fortunes changed in 1812 when the invasion of Russia wrecked his forces, and Napoleon suffered his final defeat at Waterloo in 1815.… (more)



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Oh, boy! Osprey starts its new Command range with a stinker of epic proportions. The editors at Osprey should feel ashamed for having published such a shoddy piece of work. Already the blurb about "a military account of Napoleon's martial career" hints at the troubles to come (martial - related to Mars, the god of war, hence synonymous to military).

Nobody at Osprey cared enough to actually read the booklet. On p. 20, for instance, general Kienmeyer is spelled both Kienmeyer and Keinmeyer. About Austerlitz, they say on p. 19, "against 89,000 Allied troops, of whom about 16,000 were Russians and the remaining Austrians, ..." No, no, no. Most of the Austrian army had been captured at Ulm. Even a shred of Napoleonic knowledge should prevent such blunders. Even basic reading comprehension might have caught a few.

Why they expect lay readers to understand their short accounts of the battles of Austerlitz and Waterloo is beyond me. Even their Osprey campaign titles can not do justice to these battles. Trying to condense them further is futile. I challenge anyone to understand the battle of Austerlitz as told in the text.

The top of the title page lists "leadership, strategy, conflict". None of this can be found in the table of content. This title is a bastardization of an Osprey Campaign and an Osprey Essential History. What a waste of a concept, as the material exists. One could have taken Colonel Vachée's brilliant account of "Napoleon at work", which shows a real commander at his job, and combine this with Hubert Camon's explanation of Napoleon's strategic tricks of "les manoeuvres sur les derrières" and "la position centrale".

To add insult to injury in this train wreck, the man in the commissioned paintings does not even look like Napoleon. Osprey used to be about making military history accessible. It looks like they are trying to make it dumb now. Someone deserves a severe spanking (unfortunately, as they are British, they would probably enjoy it). A painful read. Buyers beware. ( )
1 vote jcbrunner | Jul 11, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory Fremont-Barnesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fremont-Barnes, GregoryAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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