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Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871 (University Paperbacks) [Paperback]

Michael Howard
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France 1870-1871 The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France 1870-1871 3.7 out of 5 stars (7)
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Book Description

16 July 1981 University Paperbacks (Book 732)

In 1870 Bismarck ordered the Prussian Army to invade France, inciting one of the most dramatic conflicts in European history. It transformed not only the states-system of the Continent but the whole climate of European moral and political thought. The overwhelming triumph of German military might, evoking general admiration and imitation, introduced an era of power politics, which was to reach its disastrous climax in 1914.

First published in 1961 and now with a new introduction, The Franco-Prussian War is acknowledged as the definitive history of one of the most dramatic and decisive conflicts in the history of Europe.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen young books; New edition edition (16 July 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0416307507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0416307504
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 13.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,957,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'No outline can suggest the richness of detail and significance, or the superb command of language with which he invests his chronicle. His book is a masterpiece.' - Sunday Times

'Brilliantly written.' - Julian Critchley, The Week

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Sir Michael Howard was the Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford from 1980-1989. He was Professor of History at Yale University from 1989-1993. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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The military implications of the industrial changes and scientific discoveries which were transforming the world were little explored during the first half of the nineteenth century. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Michael Howard's work is considered by many to be the standard work on the period. Interestingly this war, that between its ending in 1871 and the start of the First World War in 1914 was the most written about campaign in history, has been somewhat overshadowed now, to the extent that many English speaking people are entirely unaware that there was a Second French Empire with another Bonaparte on the throne. Michael Howard's work, written in the 1960s, when French student demonstrations were linked very closely with the Paris comune of 1871, is really a reexamination of the conflict that shaped Europe. Whereas previous studies, certainly near contemporary ones, focussed on the military lessons that should be learnt before the next European war, Howard looks at the conflict from more of a political angle. Certainly for the student of military history this gives a good overview, but specific detail on battles is light. This is more of a "Clausewitzian" work, charting the combined military and political progress of the campaign. This work is a good starting point for any student of the period looking to take their first steps into this conflict. Over recent years this period of history has become more accessable through the publication of more works, such as the reprinting of the Prussian Staff Histories, and other contemporary works form both sides. Howard's work will, however, give us a solid foundation for our studies, particularly as the author seems to have little or no ploitical axe to grind.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 18 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a superb book on this topic. As a battlefield guide with many trips to the Western Front and the Normandy beaches under my belt, it was remiss of me to go so long without reading an account of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71.

History is a continuum but I do feel that the F-P war was the starting point of events in Europe that culminated in the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. So, essential to have a good grasp of it.

This book gives a detailed but not tedious description of the political, historical, military, technological and social background to the state of France and Prussia in the mid 19th C. It then describes the almost ludicrous French taking of Bismarck's bait, followed by the engagements, from division level and upwards and finally the collapse of the French body politic into near anarchy and revolution in defeat.

The writing is concise, free of academic waffle and the treatment is comprehensive. It's said that this is the definitive single volume on the subject still, after over 40 years. I think it would be very difficult to beat it, unless by the inclusion of much new information and rediscovered archive material, which has not happened to date.

I deducted one star because, as so often with books on military history that have been republished in p/back, the maps and diagrams have been reduced to near illegibility. I read this book with a large scale French road atlas to hand. Without this, much description of troop movement becomes incomprehensible.

But a very highly recommended book, nevertheless.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition littered with typos 20 Jun 2013
By Nigel
Format:Kindle Edition
This excellent single volume account is marred by its shoddy conversion into kindle format. There are typos on almost every page. Whoever scanned the original plainly did not bother to even run this through a spell checker let alone proof read their product. Shoddy work. Buy an actual copy of this excellent book. Do not bother with the kindle version.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why the First World War was inevitable 19 Sep 2011
Well written, well researched. It explains clearly the underlying culture clash between Prussia and France.
To understand the reason for the second World War which in turn flowed from the First World War, you must understand the Franco Prussian war. The effect it had on both parties, and why with their respective temperaments and views of the outcome, the re-match, which was the Great War, was inevitable.
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