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Artillery of the Napoleonic Wars Hardcover – February 19, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books; First edition (February 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853675830
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853675836
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,419,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kevin Kiley, a lifelong student of the Napoleonic period, served for many years as an artillery officer and is currently a teacher.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rod Glenn' on July 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a book that I really wanted to like. The author knows his subject backwards and forwards, and the contemporary drawings that are included are extremely rare. Unfortunately, too often I found myself reading material in one chapter that had previously appeared in another chapter (sometimes peviously on the same page). Although his narrative passages were excellent (albeit borrowing heavily from Elting et al), when repeated ad nauseum, they lost some of their potency. Hopefully this very able author will soon be able to match his impressive knowledge with the writing skills that it requires.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Brown on August 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Kevin Kiley's first book is a handsome volume that examines Napoleonic artillery, its theories and practices during the time when artillery began to become an equal partner in the business of battle. Its 290 pages are liberally filled with fascinating period engravings, clear maps and sixteen pages of black and white plates. Although it leans towards the French experience it also contains an abundance of material on Austrian, British, Prussian and Russian usage & mentions many more countries including the Americans at New Orleans in 1815.

Napoleon himself began as a gunner. You would expect a plethora of works focusing on the artillery of the Napoleonic Wars, but Mr Kiley's book, "Artllery of the Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815" is the first of its kind written in English.

I think it will be a landmark volume and an important part of anyone's Napoleonic library.

The book contains a panoramic view of the artillery of the period & the men who used it to such deadly effect & a detailed analysis of the science & art of gunnery of the era.

It encompasses a breadth of knowledge that pays heed to developments of the seventeenth century as well as a depth that explains how primers were made, for example. It ends with eponymous chapters on some of the great artillerists of the Age such as Smola, Senarmont, Eble, Ramsay & Drouot.

The book is peppered with primary source quotes that support the authors' views. Indeed, the work is well-supported with a cornucopia of diverse sources.

I must emphasize that the book is extremely readable. It marries a passion for the subject with a the cool technical eye of a former gunner who certainly knows the business. It will bear several readings and serve as a source of information indefinitely.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful By a reader on April 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Having seen a good deal of discussion of this book in various Napoleonica forums, I was cautious in my anticipation, but was still not prepared for how goofy it is. Given comments about repetition and editing, I was expecting that occasionally the same information would show up in two different sections. But, no, that is not the problem. The problem is that the book is written almost as if it were a verbatim off-the-cuff lecture, and the same things are said 3-4-5 times in the various chapters, the sections, right down to paragraphs, where sentences within three lines of each other can say exactly the same things with different words.

The repetition draws attention to another weakness, the thinness of the material. Most of the book describes the development of artillery through eighteenth century. The story of Gribeauval's contribution to French artillery is oft told, but not because his reforms, modeled after those of the Austrian Lichtenstein, are particularly notable. But rather because his long running conflict with Valliere is a case book example of bureaucratic infighting and court patronage under Louis XIV. The author ignores this conflict, while touting Gribeauval's ideas, a generation old by the outbreak of the Revolutionary Wars, as superior to every other nation's development, although they all borrowed from one another and pretty much followed the same paths.

His argument is undercut, however, because he does not understand the technical aspects of his subject. So while he can identify distinctions in details, he cannot explain why they are better, except by assertion. The continental coalition powers elevated their guns with a screw driven wedge; the French with a screw driven platform.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Arthur Snell on May 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this work very good and thought the diagrams and illustrations easy to understand. Having served in the Artillery I found that words of command and names of pieces have not changed all that much.
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