- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition / First Impression edition (15 April 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312375875
- ISBN-13: 978-0312375874
- Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 2.7 x 25.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,566,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Fighting Techniques of the Napoleonic Age 1792-1815: Equipment, Combat Skills, and Tactics Hardcover – 15 Apr 2008
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Put it very briefly, get this book instead of the Ospreys. It covers not only infantry, cavalry, artillery but also naval warfare. The book gives numerous lively examples and accounts about the different achievements of each arm. One can find numerous battles explained with maps, each detailing the successes of a particular use of cavalry, artillery or infantry.
This little book does extremely well in its own modest and pedagogical way what others more convoluted writings fail to achieve: inspire!
As a conclusion: a well written and engaging entry level book. Happy with it and will read it again with pleasure.
Memory of those days is now confined to dusty books and dingy paintings, but the sheer scale of battle, the drama, and the pivotal importance in the wars guarantee their enduring grip on history buff's imaginations.
The authors bring together their narrative and analytical skills in the traditional genre of military history, concentrating on questions of command, strategy, tactics and the changing technologies of warfare.
Each chapter focuses on a different arm: infantry, cavalry, artillery, command and control -- chapter five covers naval warfare. The text is bolstered by color artwork. Eighteen birds-eye-view battle field maps are included to demonstrate the tactics.
The author's command of Napoleonic period forces enables them to sketch with considerable skill each armies' Grenadiers, Hussars and artillerymen with vivid precision. They know the weapons and their employment.
In describing these times, the authors are obliged by the scale of the subject matter to stick to the bare bones of the story. However, they scatter their text with vignettes and insights that will surprise even those well-versed in the history of these wars.
It is to their credit that they can both offer the reader a detailed account of these terrible and complicated battles and step back to give due summaries. Their scholarship seems to me worthy, their prose clear, their judgments fair.
The author's narrate in a conversational style, making all the moves and counter moves understandable. When they narrow the focus, the action comes alive, as in the violent and unforgettable tales of Caulaincourt's Cuirassiers storming the great redoubt at Borodino or with Senarmont's battery that "inflicted some 4000 casualties and gutted the Russian center at the Battle of Friedland."
Concise and readable, "Fighting Techniques" is a birds-eye-view of military operations. For anyone who wishes to understand Napoleonic warfare, this book is essential reading.
So what are my reservations? I'm not an expert on Napoleon, so I can't comment on the authenticity of the opinions expressed, but I did have some reservations about how the material was presented. For one thing, there's no forward, introduction, preface, or anything like that. The bibliography is rather sparse, there are no acknowledgments, no footnotes or other sourcing. The book literally starts on the first page discussing infantry tactics, and on the last page concludes its discussion of Naval warfare on the Great Lakes during the War of 1812. One serious annoyance involves the maps: there are a lot of them, and there should be a standardized key for them. There isn't, for some reason, and somebody should be shot: in some of the maps, the French forces are represented by blue arrows and icons, in others they're red. This makes things extremely confusing, especially if you're not an expert on the era, and can't just glance at a map and tell which side is which. If you *can* do that, you probably don't need this book that much anyway.
Those misgivings aside, this is an interesting book, full of information that's not available elsewhere, and I would recommend it.