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France at Bay 1870-1871 Hardcover – 19 May 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military; 1st edition edition (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848843259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848843257
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 407,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Gardiner on 11 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Some of us British know a little about the Franco-Prussian War - Napoleon III, Bismarck, the great battles in the autumn of 1870 - and perhaps a smaller number are aware of the Paris Commune. Yet that leaves a large gap between the Battle of Sedan and the eventual peace treaty during which time Europe was reshaped with long-lasting consequences. Douglas Fermer's last book, Sedan 1870: The Eclipse of France concluded with Napoleon III's surrender at Sedan and the rapid overthrow of the Second Empire; this latest work starts to fill in the void. It covers the formation of the Republic's government, the investment of Paris and the French attempts to break-out of or relieve the siege of their capital, the surrender of Metz, the battles that followed as France raised new armies, and the eventual admission of defeat and negotiations with the newly-founded German Empire, before the convulsions of the Commune. The political as well as the military view is relayed with the French government being a loose conglomeration of competing principles and desires fractured by its dislocation from most of France. Several personalities come to the fore, including Gambetta, Bourbaki, Chanzy and their Prussian antagonists of Bismarck, Moltke and Roon. Like its predecessor, this volume is not a dry work, being more in the style of histories favoured by the likes of William Manchester or Robert Massie, and together they make an excellent update to Michael Howard's seminal work on the subject.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Keith G on 27 Nov. 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is the second - and final - part of Douglar Fermer's work on the Franco Prussian War. It is clearly written with good anecdotes concerning the participants. For any wishing to know more about the background history these are excellent books about the main protagonists and give clear evidence to the history of these two ancient enemies and explains why/how and what happened which goes a long way to explaining the background to WW!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By strategos on 21 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
France at Bay is the follow-up volume to Fermer's well-received Sedan 1870: The Eclipse of France (2008), and as such completes his magisterial treatment of the Franco-Prussian War, which will now stand as a worthy successor to Michael Howard's 1960 work, hitherto regarded as the standard text in English on this most important of 19th century wars, and the one with the most enduring consequences.
Quite reasonably, the Prussians had assumed that after the resounding defeat of the French Imperial Army at Sedan on 1 September 1870, and the capture of Napoleon III, that the war was won. Yet this war was to drag on for another five months, in the most atrocious weather conditions and in an atmosphere of bitterness and rancor between Frenchman and German, and between Frenchmen themselves as they struggled for the soul of France. This is the period so poignantly illustrated by Emile Zola's novel Le Débâcle, which really gives a chilling feel of a nation in its death agonies. Guy de Maupassant too, the great story teller of French literature, set many of his tales in this period, giving great insight into the feelings of ordinary French men and women.
The great prize was of course Paris, and the Prussians and their German allies needed to secure the capital in order to proclaim a victory they felt had so far unfairly eluded them. To the South and West of Paris were disparate elements of the French army that had not been mobilised in time to fight on the frontiers of at Sedan, including Gardes Mobiles (reservists), sailors, colonial troops and foreign volunteers. This unlikely amalgam of desperate men fought a brave but ultimately futile campaign to relieve the city. Meanwhile in Paris under siege, its citizens suffered extreme privations in freezing weather.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scrivener on 31 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like its companion volume which deals with matters up to the French defeat at Sedan, this is a comprehensive and lucid description of the campaigns that led up to the fall of Paris and the armistice. I can highly recommend this volume.
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Amazon.com: 1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Awful Continuation 10 Mar. 2014
By P. Weiser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very well-written companion volume to the same author's history of the Franco-Prussian War up to and including Sedan. More involoved with politics than that volume but does not neglect Moltke and the various French generals. The agony of French recruits trying to fight veteran Germans in winter conditions is horrifically described; we also learn how von der Tann earned having Germany's first battlecruiser named after him: he wasn't exactly the German fireman, more like the guy who kept getting left in the middle of burning houses to fight his way out... then scolded for retreating.

Good maps, good illustrations (contemporary paintings) which show up well even on my Kindle Keyboard.
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