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Russia Against Napoleon by Dominic Lieven

Russia Against Napoleon (2009)

by Dominic Lieven

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
The most thoroughly researched, eye-opening, concise piece of military history I've ever read. A JOY to read. ( )
  apomonis | Jun 2, 2016 |
It is a common misconception, popularized by nationalist sentiments and even Tolstoy himself, that the Russian army was not responsible as it truly was for the defeat of Napoleon in the East. General Winter is most often credited.

This book is a worthy corrective to some of the misconceptions of the Russian campaign - that is, Russia was more responsible for defeating Napoleon than is given credit - by such preeminent sources as The Campaigns of Napoleon, and Tolstoy. The Russian state, although primitive and somewhat lacking in both a social and economic/industrial sense, was led by competent and farsighted leaders who made necessary strategic preparations for defeating an invasion of such magnitude.

Strategic withdrawal was necessary, as well as a total war. Napoleon's army, although excellent in pitched battle, was incapable of sustained guerilla or total wars, as demonstrated in the Peninsular campaign.

Alexander I, in particular, is given credit for forming an alliance system, often by 'the scruff of his neighbors necks', as he bargained their compliance.

Even in peacetime, Russia threw its weight around, redrawing the territorial lines of Europe in the Congress of Berlin, redrawing German and Polish states according to their demands.

These campaigns still have very much to teach us, and Lieven does very well in bringing new facts to light.

Only major complaint is that some better maps would have been useful. It's hard to keep track of military campaigns without them. ( )
  HadriantheBlind | Mar 30, 2013 |
The Author Mr. Lieven, had access to Russian archives to write a story of the 1812-1814 campaigns in which Russia contributed to the dismanteling of the Napoleonic Empire.

The strategy and the respective national myths of previous historians are well detailed in that for political reasons - the 1827 coup by former generals of the 1812 campaigns to topple absolutism in Russia - more was written over the 1812 part of the campaign than on the next two years. This happened to diminish the importance of the fact that Russian armies marched - led by Prussian general - through western Europe with Platov's cossacks ending camping in Paris!

In popular imagery, the Tolstoi [War and Peace] version of this campaign prevails, only telling the fatal march to Moscow and back.

It is to the credit of Mr. Lieven that he goes further though the title of the book seem to infer that only Napoleon went at war against Russia even though he had assembled what would now be called a "coalition of the willing". ( )
  Artymedon | Dec 3, 2011 |
a great book that I enjoyed from start to finish. A few more maps may have been useful to explain the more detailed passgages but otherwise a fantastic read.
  prichardson | Jun 20, 2011 |
A professor at the London School of Economics, Dominic Lieven has searched the Russian military archives and emerged with a wonderful narrative history of the Napoleonic Wars of 1812-1814, written from the Russian point of view. Among his more surprising discoveries: the Russians deliberately let Napoleon advance far into their homeland without offering battle, because they were convinced that his army could not withstand the rigors of such a long campaign. Although they did not expect Napoleon to make it all the way to Moscow, their strategy worked quite well, as the French army fell apart during the long retreat back to central Europe.
A central figure emerges, a single individual most responsible for Napoleon’s defeat: Czar Alexander I. He approved the strategy of the deep retreat and was a prime mover in the campaigns of 1813 and 1814. Indeed, his diplomatic policy was responsible for forming the coalition that ultimately invaded France and overthrew its emperor.
Narrative history at its best, this book covers the campaigns, the espionage, the diplomacy, and the battles that liberated Europe. ( )
1 vote barlow304 | Apr 18, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
"Dominic Lieven, a professor of history at the London School of Economics, is a distinguished scholar of the czarist empire, and in this superb book he has written his masterpiece."
"Crafted by Dominic Lieven, perhaps one of the most distinguished specialists in nineteenth-century Russia of his generation, Russia Against Napoleon truly reaches the parts that other works do not."
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For my courageous wife, Mikiko, and in memory of the
regiments of the Imperial Russian Army who fought, suffered
and triumphed in the great war of 1812-14
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Russia's defeat of Napoleon is one of the most dramatic stories in European history.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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History of the Russian role in the defeat of Napoleon
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670021571, Hardcover)

A major new history of the Russian conflict immortalized by Tolstoy in War and Peace

Russia's expulsion of Napoleon's Grande Armée in 1812 is considered one of the most dramatic events in European history. However, Tolstoyan myth and an imbalance of British and French interpretations have clouded most Westerners' understanding of Russia's role in the defeat of Napoleon.

Based on a fresh examination of Russian military archives, Russia Against Napoleon provides the first-ever history of the period told from the Russian perspective. In Dominic Lieven's account, Russia's victory in 1812 was just the beginning of what would be the longest military campaign in European history, marked by Russia's epic efforts to feed and supply half a million troops as they crossed an entire continent.

Moving from the 1807 treaty signed by Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I through the Russian army's improbable entry into Paris in 1814, Lieven provides suspenseful accounts of events, such as the burning of Moscow and the great battles of Leipzig and Borodino, as well as astute analyses of the great military strategists of the time. The result is a magisterial work sure to be eagerly anticipated by military and history buffs alike.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:47 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In his major new history of the Russian conflict immortalized by Tolstoy in "War and Peace," Lieven provides an examination of the period from the Russian perspective, demonstrating that Napoleon's defeat in 1812 by the Russian army was just the beginning of what would be the longest military campaign in European history.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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