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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Covering both the military and political progress
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...
Published on 10 Feb 1999

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Kindle edition littered with typos
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.
Published 14 months ago by Nigel


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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Covering both the military and political progress, 10 Feb 1999
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
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C. Nation "chrisnation" (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
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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
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Nigel (Andover, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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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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3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent text let down by poor maps, 15 Mar 2014
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MR ELLIOTT P SMITHSON (PHILADELPHIA, PA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France 1870-1871 (Paperback)
This is a wonderful piece of historical research and writing. It is however woefully let down by the maps which contain no military information and appear to be photocopied from the French equivalent of Ordinance Survey. This makes the excellent descriptions near impossible to follow. There are no other illustrations. The work was first published in 1961 and does not seem to have been improved for later editions. The war consisted of an amazing number of battles and engagements but lasted only 5 months. Inevitably many of the chapters are chronologically overlapping and a schematic showing the sequence of events would have helped enormously. The publishers have done the author no favours.
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5.0 out of 5 stars understand ww1 here!, 31 Jan 2014
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Paul Steed (devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France 1870-1871 (Paperback)
I always avoided the f-p war as not involving the UK. well written and wide ranging. used condition exactly as stated
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4.0 out of 5 stars Puts into perspective how power within altered., 25 May 2013
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Extremely good but does perhaps dwell in far too much detail of every battle that took place, nevertheless it is a darn good read.
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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 by Michael Howard (Paperback - 27 Sep 2001)
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