Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace Hardcover – 15 Apr 2010
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A compulsive page-turner ... a triumph of brilliant storytelling ... an instant classic that is an awesome, remarkable and exuberant achievement (Simon Sebag Montefiore Evening Standard)
Radically alters our assumptions about how Napoleon was beaten (Andrew Roberts Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year)
(He creates) an historic canvas that is both overwhelming and meticulous ... he inevitably touches the nerve points of modern power politics. (The Economist)
A compulsive read. This master storyteller and scholar has written an instant classic that is awesome, remarkable and exuberant. (Simon Sebag Montefiore The Scotsman)
An essential reference ... the Princess would have approved. (The Spectator)
(An) erudite, monumental piece of historial research ... it's a great tale with a clear argument, baked by an impressive array of sources and detail. (Charles Clover Financial Times)
A superbly crafted book (Alexander M. Martin TLS)
A lucid and detailed account (Geoffrey Hosking London Review of Books) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2009 Wolfson Prize for History & shortlisted for Duff Cooper Prize
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Russia Against Napoleon is a history book that reads like a novel. This is Dominic Lieven at his very best. His text is rich and insightful, incredibly well researched, colourful, intellectually provocative, and at times humorous. I have just finished reading it and I see myself going back to it over and over again. It is a feast of the mind.
So, a word of warning; it is by no means a light read. It may be advisable to get a general overview of Napoleons campaign in Russia, and the subsequent Liberation of Europe, before diving into this book.
It is such a joy to read the full account of the Russian struggle in the Napoleonic wars. It is about time they were given fuller credit for their part in his downfall. Very much as the Soviet Union, for all its faults, should be given the credit that it is due for its sacrifice in bearing the brunt of the war against Hitler.
Having said all this there is one glaring fault that really lets the book down - hence 4 stars, not 5. The author goes into immense detail with his descriptions of the battles - he could probably have written a book for each one. But, and it is a huge but, he does not provide the kind of maps that would help the reader to follow the battles. By chpt 12 this ommission actuallybecomes quite burdensome. He could easily have made this work into 2 vols., and have included far more maps on the pages opposite the descrptions; nice shiny colour maps would have been perfect. Or perhaps even a companion volume to this work, just with maps, large overview maps, smaller, more localised detailed maps. His level of detail really does demand this. There are a few black and white maps at the front of the book, sort of tucked away, but they are not really sufficiently accessible or detailed or particularly well organised.One does not want to have to go back and forth from description to map every few words. It may be that the publisher wanted to save on maps to make the book less expensive... Big mistake in my view.
The other major omission is the lack of a general overview of each chapter before he begins the detailed description. An overview would help to focus the readers mind beforte the detail assaults them. Sometimes the detail though interesting does feel like an assault; each chapter would stand at least two readings.
These criticisms aside, it is a truly monumental work. Its about time the West brought Russia in from the cold, if only to get to know it better...
It has more useful information than any book I have read on the Napoleonic period since Chandler (and I was a tenager then,so I knew nothing).
It is, in short, essential for anyone with any interest in the later part of the Napoleonic period.
It is so good I bothered to make an Amazon review for it - and I never bother with Amazon reviews.
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