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Napoleon and His Marshals

Napoleon and His Marshals [Kindle Edition]

A G Macdonell
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Napoleon Bonaparte bestrode Europe like a colossus.

But what of his Marshals, who ably (or not) assisted him in his rise and fall?

This classic work of military history examines the period of 1796 to 1815, from Napoleon’s victories in Italy up to the point of his defeat at Waterloo.

Napoleon created twenty-six Marshals. The narrative of this book is wound around these men, their inter-personal relationships, their triumphs, their constant bickering and their eventual failure. With Marshal jostling with Marshal for power and influence, A.G. Macdonell's stylish account is as much a study of human drama as it is a work of military history.

For fans of Andrew Roberts, Bernard Cornwell and Simon Sebag Montefiore.

A. G. Macdonell was a Scottish writer and journalist. His most famous book was 'England, Their England.'

Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 934 KB
  • Print Length: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Endeavour Press Ltd. (11 Oct 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00FSB9ZK2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #9,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
This book is almost unique amongst books of the Napoleonic period, in that instead of focusing on Napoleon and his actions, it tends to concentrate on the men around him. The book looks in depth at what his trusted Marshals were doing in each year of the Napoleonic Wars. That said, a Napoleon fan should not be put off, Napoleon is still the crux round which the other characters rotate.
Though the book and some of it's theories are now showing it's age, it is still immensely enjoyable. It is not very in depth, just summarising the events on the battlefields, and it is not truly a military history in that regard. It looks at the characters and how they interacted. It is fascinating to learn of the little disputes that erupted between the Marshals, and the book is full of interesting little stories.
In a strange way, it is the last chapter, the one that focuses on the Marshals after Napoleon which is the most interesting. It recounts the actions from the restoration of the Bourbons through to the death of Marmont in 1853, something which very few books have covered, and it is this that makes it the most refreshing. The book genuinely makes you feel joy and sorrow for the Marshals at certain points.
In short, this book is immensely readable, and though it shuns detail in favour of making a good story, it is well worth it. With this book, you really do believe in a great Napoleonic legend. Brilliant.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative 13 Feb 2000
By A Customer
One would't expect a book written in the thirties to be as readable and entertaining as this. And of course there is the subject matter. Anyone thinking that the Napoleontic wars were only fought by the man himself will have his or her eyes opened in this book. The marshals were a colourful bunch to say the least, and their influence on the rise and fall of Napoleon's empire are vividly brought to life. And a writer who tells us that the murder of marchal Brune by a vindictive mob cannot even be justified by the quality of the poetry he wrote in his spare time, is my kind of historian.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Account of Napoleon's Marshals 5 July 2007
I have just finished reading a 1934 hardback edition of A.G. MacDonell's "Napoleon and his Marshals". Bearing in mind that this book was first published over 70 years ago I found it immensely enjoyable. It does not offer a detailed account of Napoleon's great battles nor in-depth detail of movements, strategy & tactics but offers an interesting insight into the men Napoleon created as Marshals during his reign over the battlefields of Europe.

I would have liked to have read more of the battles of Eylau and Friedland and other great Napoleonic battles in the book but I still came away after finishing the story deeply satisfied and happy that I had indeed taken the time to read this account. The author makes no claims to providing a full and descriptive account of Napoleon and his Empire; the book is too small for that. However in 370 odd pages he brings to life the period between 1796 and 1852, the date of the death of the last Marshal, Auguste Frederic Louis Viesse de Marmont, Duke of Ragusa.

This is a great story, easy to read, full of information and accounts of some of the greatest soldiers of France. As some of the previous reviewers have mentioned, the chapter dealing with what happened to these great men after 1815 is at times saddening and I found, deeply moving. This book is well worth the time to sit down and enjoy and I think anyone who has an interest in the Napoleonic period will find this title a gem to keep in his or her library.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By T. D. Welsh TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If all history books were written in A.G. Macdonell's style, there would be a lot more amateur historians about! For my money, this book is far more entertaining than most of the fiction I have read, and I felt that odd mixture of emotions when I finally closed it: awe and amazement at the incredible feats of that unique band of men, amusement at some of the tricks they got up to, and a deep regret that the story was over. The only book that I can compare to this one is Fletcher Pratt's "A short history of the American Civil War", a longer and perhaps even more ably-written overview of events some 60 years later. They really do not write that way any more!

If "Napoleon and his Marshals" could be summed up in a single word, it would have to be "humanity". Its pages are crowded with the best and worst of human nature: fantastic bravery, rich imagination, unbelievably hard work and dogged persistence, rubbing shoulders with spite, arrogance, jealousy, occasional cowardice, and - surprisingly enough - sheer downright incompetence. Even Napoleon was far from perfect: on one occasion, he put first Berthier, then Murat, in charge of the Grande Armee and its nearly 200,000 men; and then forgot both appointments and tried to run the show himself. Confusion reigned, with three sets of orders flying around and corps commanders jerked around like puppets on strings. Then there was the almost unbelievable folly of leaving over 200,000 men achieving next to nothing in Spain, while invading Russia 2000 miles away - the very antithesis of Napoleon's basic principle of war, concentration.

The first surprise is how many marshals there were: 18 in all, including less-well known names such as Moncey, Brune, Mortier, and Bessieres, as well as illustrious ones like Murat, Massena, Ney, and Davout.
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