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The Art of War of Revolutionary France, 1789-1802 Hardcover – August 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Greenhill Books (August 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853673358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853673351
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Hayes on November 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Readers electing NOT to slog through Ramsay Phipp's five volume "ARMIES," might as well read this thought-provoking, well-researched volume filled with keen insight, wry humor, and sensible observations on a confusing subject which has been much overshadowed by the later campaigns of the Emperor Napoleon. In my opinion, Paddy Griffith's books are almost without exception works worth reading due to his ability to analyze a subject and present his theories in a highly entertaining fashion. In "Art of War" the author explains how these wars were fought and reveals the organizational and doctrinal underpinning for the follow-on Napoleonic war machine. I also admire military historians possessing the perception to state "there could never be any meaningful divorce of logistics from operations. "Griffith's grasp of logistical demands commands respect as well as his description of army organization and staff work. He plainly sees the staff as a force- multiplier and gives a very nice nod to Berthier and Thiébault in this vein. I was taken by his description of the republic's Representatives on Mission (forerunner of the Stalinist commissar) as well as a nice section on the role of the French march battalions (socialization of the conscript). He also has a good section on the internal Armées Révolutionnaires. His text is supported by useful explanatory diagrams, maps and tables. I also find his word choice enviable, as when referring to Buonaparte's Armée d'Italie as "meridonal hooligans." His whimsical humor makes for a few chuckles by the fire. I particularly recommend his bibliographic essay and notes which provide the reader good advice for further study. I suggest T.C.W. Blanning's highly readable THE FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WARS and, later on, John Lynn's opus to the Armée du Nord, THE BAYONETS of the REPUBLIC. All in all an enjoyable nuts and bolts guide to this period.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paras Sanghri on December 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First let me start off by saying that I had the honour though brief of corresponding with the late Dr. Griffith through email. I needed hep on Bonapartes invasion of Italy and like a true gentlemen he gave me lot of information. He will be missed. Even though are views on Napoleon are polar opposites, This book is must read for students of the French Revolutionary army. It tells about the orginzation, politics, and money matters of the revolutionary armies. the personalities of the generals, I was pleased by his admiration for General Moreau, who was a very talented commander during the revolution who's contribution to republican France is all too forgoten. Many former Marshals learned their trade under him (ney, Davout, Grouchy). This is not a book for wargamers their are no army lists, or battle reports. the economics of the war and how the army fought, supplied and fed are greatly described in this volume. The author does not hide his anti-bias for Napoleon(but then we all have biases I am a commited Bonapartist.)
there is truth in his claim that the army of italy were big looters. Napoleon's war in Italy was totaly self financed
even I have to admit by massive looting, which had just gone out style 100 years back, before the age of reason most militaries did lot of looting during the campaign. All in all this book is a must read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on March 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Griffith, a former lecturer at Sandhurst, culls together a lot of the material from other sources - such as Lynn - and tries to paint a portrait of the French war machine during the period 1792-1802. It is a decent overview but not very original. The author is also possessed of a fierce anti-Bonapartist bias and he not only ignores the 1796-7 Campaign in Italy and the 1798 Campaign in Egypt, but he takes frequent gratuitous swipes at Napoleon (comments like "unfortunately Bonaparte escaped being lynched by his troops" or "unfortunately Bonaparte was able to return from Egypt"). There is much good information on other theaters, such as the Spanish frontier and Rhine. However, there is very little on the War of the Second Coalition and the narrative essentially runs only to about 1798. The chapter on the French Navy is a skimpy overview. Griffith's conclusion is that French armies of 1792-5 were not very good, but they had decent commanders who knew how to get the best out of their fragile infantry units. French relied heavily on artillery, fortifications and rough terrain initially. Their main advantages were that they had a simple strategy (survival) which they didn't have to coordinate with any allies and they had plenty of troops who kept launching "impulse" attacks. The Allies were hampered by poor coalition diplomacy/strategy and limited numbers of troops. Excellent bibliography (the book's strongest point). Maps are plentiful but crude. Many tables, but few are very enlightening.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M M Chappory on November 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Paddy Griffith's comprehensive work explores in detail the inner workings of French Revolutionary Armies. The book answers many questions about this period of intense warfare; how did revolutionary armies function; how were they supplied; how were they commanded; how did they fight and how successful were they against their 'conservative' enemies. He charts the rise of the French tactical systems employed during the Napoleonic Wars exploding a few myths along the way e.g. the reality of French 'skirmishing' tactics. In tone this is an academic volume and as such valuable to any serious enthusiast of the Revolutionary and Early Napoleonic Wars Period.
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