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The Napoleonic Wars: The Rise And Fall Of An Empire (Essential Histories Specials) Paperback – April 27, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Foreword by Bernard Cornwell, author of the bestselling ‘Sharpe’ novels. Authors Todd Fisher and Dr Gregory Fremont-Barnes are amongst the world’s leading Napoleonic scholars. Todd Fisher is the Executive Director of the Napoleonic Alliance, a founding member of the International Napoleonic Society, and Chief Executive Officer of Emperor's Press and Napoleon Journal.
Gregory Fremont-Barnes holds degrees in history from the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Chicago, and the University of Oxford. He is the author of ‘The French Revolutionary Wars ‘ (2001), and is currently co-editing the four-volume ‘Encyclopedia of the American Revolutionary War’.
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Product Details

  • Series: Essential Histories Specials (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (April 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841768316
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841768311
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Tom Holmberg on September 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
This omnibus volume in Osprey's relatively new "Essential Histories" combines four previously published entries on the Napoleonic Wars in the series: The Rise of the Emperor, 1805-1807; The Empires Fight Back, 1808-1812; The Peninsular War, 1807-1814; The Fall of the French Empire, 1813-1815. Todd Fisher is the author of the first two parts and Gregory Fremont-Barnes is the author of the final two. The first "book" covers Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena and Auerstädt, Eylau and Friedland. The second "book" includes Eckmühl, Aspern-Essling, Wagram, Borodino, and the retreat from Russia. The third "book" covers the battles of the Peninsular War- Vimiero, Corunna, Talavera, Bussaco, Salamanca and Vittoria. The final "book" looks at the final battles of the Napoleonic Wars- Lützen, Leipzig and the battles in France, ending, of course, with Waterloo.

Each "book" follows a general format. Opening with the background to the war, followed by a description of the comparative situations and characteristics of the armies involved-the French, the Austrian, the Russian, the Prussian, the British, etc. This is followed by a narrative history of each campaign, and finally a description of the situation at the end of the campaign. Short descriptions of peripheral actions (i.e., usually, except for the Peninsular War section, those where Napoleon was not present) in other theaters are also included. In addition, each "book" includes one or two "portraits," short, self-contained biographies of soldiers and civilians.

One of the portraits by Fisher, for example, is of Philippe-René Girault, a soldier-musician who served during both the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Another is of Louise Fusil, a French actress caught up in Napoleon's retreat from Russia.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains a compilation of four previously published books (each of approximately 94 pages of length) published by Osprey in its "Essential History" series. The four were: The rise of the Emperor (covering 1805-1807), The Empires Fight Back (1808-1813), The Peninsular War (1807-1814) and The Fall of the French Empire (1813-1815).
In general and in aggregate, this collection does a pretty good job at providing a basic overview of the wars progression over each period. Each book, on a stand along basis for the period it covers, provides a good overview of the makeup of the armies involved (from lower level troops through mid and upper officer levels), tactics, weapons and strengths and weaknesses, the geopolitical situation at the beginning of the periods, how the war progressed over time and what the after effects were at the end of the covered periods. In addition, the chapters provide short 2-3 page chapters on some particular little or unknown low level individual involved in the war that gives a very good idea, from a personal viewpoint, what the war was like. The book is also very richly illustrated in contemporaneous paintings, etchings, maps and other illustrations.

With respect to weaknesses, the book has quite a few. The most important, by far, is the due to its limited length and its topic it is unable to provide a very decent overview of the war outside of major campaigns and battles. For example, the war at sea is barely touched upon outside of Trafalgar. In addition, diplomatic, military, economic and political issues are barely touched upon. This book is definitely not as definitive as, say, the great Napoleonic expert Professor Alfred Chandler's "The Campaigns of Napoleon" (an approximately 1,200 page book) or Charles Esdaile's "Napoleon's Wars: An International History" (approximately 700 pages in length). However, for what it is, a short succinct introduction to the Napoleonic Wars intended for the novice, the book does an excellent job.
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By D. Campbell on February 26, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good overall perspective of this truly amazing time in the history of Europe and the world
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