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The Burning of Moscow: Napoleon's Trial by Fire 1812
The Burning of Moscow: Napoleon's Trial by Fire 1812
by Alexander Mikaberidze
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £25.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book should occupy a space in the library of anyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars!, 22 Jun 2014
A number of good titles have been published in recent years that deal with Napoleon’s disastrous campaign against Russia in 1812. However, few have considered in any great detail the conflagration that engulfed Moscow, all but destroying what was one of Europe’s greatest cities of the time. Indeed most historians concentrate on the following destruction of the Grand Army, as it desperately attempted to retreat through the harrowing Russian winter while under almost constant harassment from the enemy. Thankfully Dr Alexander Mikaberidze, Professor of History at Louisiana State University-Shreveport, has now filled this glaring gap with one of the most extensive and interesting studies in recent decades.

Mikaberidze begins his book with a number of in-depth analyses to set the scene for the reader. These include the immediate events before the French arrival at Moscow and a description of the city itself as it was in 1812. The author also considers the two key personae dramatis, Fyodor Rostopchin, the Governor of Moscow, and Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Indeed no understanding of the destruction of Moscow can be properly understood without first gaining an appreciation of the views and feelings of these two men in the context of late 1812. With the scene set Mikaberidze offers the reader an in-depth description of events that took place during the French occupation of the city, and the following fires that raged for days. The behaviour of both the conquering troops and the Muscovites themselves are fully explored, shedding much light on the often unsavoury actions of the protagonists of both sides. Equally as interesting is the author’s analysis of who was actually to blame for the starting of the fires, presenting a review of the evidence, and questioning some of the previously long-held beliefs of generations of historians. Finally Mikaberidze ends his book by examining Napoleon’s desperate quest to secure peace with the Russian Emperor, and a politically acceptable way out of the mess that was his campaign of 1812.

Although authored by an academic, this book is written in an easy to read style without recourse to the overly academic language that so often can bore the reader. It is obvious throughout the work that Mikaberidze has extensively researched his subject, and can quite rightly claim to be an authority on the subject. The book does not cover the campaign before the capture of Moscow in any detail, nor does it examine the terrifying retreat that consumed so much of the Grand Army afterwards. However, this is in itself a strength since it allows the author to properly examine the actual events of the great fire, which is exactly what the book set out to do. Overall this title whole heartedly deserves a five out of five star rating, and should occupy a space in the library of anyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars.


Battles of the Crimean War (British Battles)
Battles of the Crimean War (British Battles)
by W.Baring Pemberton
Edition: Paperback

2.0 out of 5 stars Content ok but condition awful., 8 May 2014
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Although I only paid 1p (plus the standard postage charge) for this book it was disappointing when it arrived due to its poor condition. The book was listed as in good condition but arrived looking like it had been partially eaten by a mouse. Inside the book there appears to be a burn mark possibly from a cigarette which has penetrated several pages. The content of the book is decent but I fear trying to read it the pages will disintegrate.


Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny
Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny
by Michael Broers
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent new book for the Napoleonic enthusiast, 8 May 2014
Napoleon: Soldier of Destiny is the first of two volumes on the life of Napoleon Bonaparte and covers the years 1769 to 1805. The title is a hefty tome of almost 530 pages plus an additional 55 pages for the notes, bibliography and index. A number of colour and black and white images are also included. Broers himself is a Professor of Western European History at Oxford University and, therefore, well placed to produce a work on a subject that is as demanding as the man who it is written about. Most importantly Broers has heavily drawn on Napoleon’s correspondence compiled by the Fondation Napoléon in Paris.

The book itself charts the unfolding life of Napoleon from his birth, examining his somewhat humble origins in Corsica to his grandiose coronation as Emperor of the French in 1804. While the rise of Napoleon to power may be well known to some Broers has managed to shed new light on events drawing on the uncensored thoughts of Napoleon himself, thus offering the reader a greater insight into the man than has been previously available. Both Napoleon’s professional and personal life are explored, including his military career, from the siege of Toulon through to the War of the Third Coalition, and his complicated romance with Joséphine de Beauharnais. The author also goes into some depth exploring Napoleon’s relationship with other key players in French history at this time, including politicians, military leaders and fellow family members.

There are a large number of books already on the market regarding Napoleon Bonaparte, and one often wonders what any new title can bring to the subject. However, Broers work certainly sheds much new light on the life of this huge historical figure. Excellently researched and written, no Napoleonic enthusiast should be without a copy. The only minor criticism would be the fact the book is perhaps not for those who are very new to the subject but rather someone who already has a basic understanding of Napoleon and his life. On the flip side those who are familiar with Napoleon will find this a strength since it will greatly add to their existing knowledge. This title deserves a strong five out of five star rating!


Philip V of Spain: The King Who Reigned Twice
Philip V of Spain: The King Who Reigned Twice
by Henry Kamen
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a book on Philip V, 30 July 2013
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This title is somewhat a gem of a book! Easy to read and covers the many wider aspects of Philip's reign and the historical events in which he played a part. I stumbled across it by accident and it has helped me plug a few gaps in my knowledge of this period.


The War of the Austrian Succession
The War of the Austrian Succession
by Reed Browning
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Very good academic book on the War of the Austrian Succession, 30 July 2013
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There are not many books written about the War of the Austrian Succession and so I was pleased to obtain a copy of this title. The book delivers pretty much all one would need to know on this conflict. The style of writing is very academic which is both a strength and a weakness depending on your point of view making it a solid study of the subkect but harder to read in places.


Antigrav Media HDMI Cable (PS3/Xbox 360)
Antigrav Media HDMI Cable (PS3/Xbox 360)
Offered by Accessories Arena
Price: £2.89

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality cable at a good price., 30 July 2013
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While there is not a lot you can say about an HDMI cable this one is perfect for the price. Excellent quality and does the job.


Honours and Awards the South Staffordshire Regiment 1914-1918 (Honours & Awards)
Honours and Awards the South Staffordshire Regiment 1914-1918 (Honours & Awards)
by Jeffrey Elson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent well researched book!, 15 Dec 2006
As a collector of First World War medals to the South Staffordshire Regiment I have found this book an invaluable resource.

It lists virtually all those who served in the regiment who, at some point during the war, won a gallantry medal. These include the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal. Also included are those Mentioned in Dispatches as well as those who received foreign bravery awards such as the French and Belgian Croix de Guerre.

A number of recipients of medals within my collection are mentioned in the book but, for me, perhaps the most interesting was to see the name of one of my ancestors who won the Military Medal.

If you have any interest in the South Staffordshire Regiment this book is for you!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 4, 2013 11:56 PM GMT


Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust
Masters of Death: The SS-Einsatzgruppen and the Invention of the Holocaust
by Richard Rhodes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.55

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - Cannot Fault It!, 11 Feb 2006
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By University training at both undergraduate and postgraduate level I am a Criminologist who also has a strong interest in history. As a result of this I have always had an interest in the Holocaust which is, after all, the worst crime in history. I have read countless books on this dark part of human history and I feel I am qualified to say that this is without doubt the best work to date about the infamous Einsatzgruppen currently in print.
The book looks at the role of the Einsatzgruppen and how it was formed, organized and deployed as well as some of its key players. It attempts to explain how men became able to carry out such mass executions by applying criminological explanations of brutalization and exploring other environmental factors the murderers were subjected to. However it does so without defending them or excusing their actions.
The author also examines some of the most important atrocities committed by these killing squads such as, amongst others, Babi Yar and Rumbula. In doing so he goes into extremely graphic detail as recounted by the few who survived, and even some of those carrying out the killings, of how the murders were actually done. I guarantee the detail will make you feel sick to your stomach.
The book draws to an end by examining the psychological suffering of the killers and the need for the Nazi regime to find a better more humane way (for the killers that is, not the victims) of killing countless innocent people. The invention of the death camps at Chelmno, Majdanek, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka (and later Auschwitz-Birkenau) was their answer. The Holocaust invented!


The National Army Museum Book of the Zulu War (Pan Grand Strategy Series)
The National Army Museum Book of the Zulu War (Pan Grand Strategy Series)
by Ian G Robertson
Edition: Paperback

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As usual an excellent book from this author., 19 Jun 2005
Normally I write reasonably long and detailed reviews to assist those thinking of buying books that I have read. However I am going to keep this one short. The reason for this is the author, Ian Knight, who quite frankly is 'the authority' on the Zulu War and as with all his other works this book is of an extremely high standard.
If you want a good book on the Zulu War than buy this one. In fact buy any written by Ian Knight since no one can write a book on this subject better than he can.


The Boer War
The Boer War
by Thomas Pakenham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read on the Boer War, 19 Jun 2005
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This review is from: The Boer War (Paperback)
I am a collector of British military medals with a particular interest in the Boer War and the First World War. As a result I have read many books on about these wars and I can honestly say that this book is the best one I have ever read concerning the Boer War of 1899 to 1902.
The author takes an in depth look at the causes of the war in both a detailed and refreshingly modern analytic way not found in previous works. He then moves on and examines the various phases of the war from the large set piece battles to the guerrila war that followed as well as the aftermath.
However, what is really pleasing about this book is the way it is written being more akin to a novel than a history textbook. The result is a highly readble text with very little dry bits that often tire the reader when he or she embarks on reading a book as large as this one.
If you want one good general history of the Boer War then this is the one to buy. It will suit those who wish to learn more about the politics of the war as well as those who have a keen interest in the military tatics used.
In short this really is a first class book which shlould be read by anyone with an interest in this conflict.


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