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With Napoleon in Russia (Dover Military History, Weapons, Armor) Paperback – May 13, 2005
By far the most important addition to Napoleonic documentation published in modern times.”The London Times
When General de Caulaincourt laid down his pen he had completed, whether he knew it or not, a masterpiece.”The New York Times
A superb biography, history, and memoir in one unforgettable volume, the work will fascinate students, teachers, scholars, and history buffs alike.
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- Publisher : Dover Publications (May 13, 2005)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0486440133
- ISBN-13 : 978-0486440132
- Item Weight : 1.04 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.75 x 1 x 8.75 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,196,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is an abridged version, and it could definitely have benefited from better maps and explanations of the major characters. I had to revert to wikipedia several times to get a better understanding of where the campaign was in space and time, and more importantly, who the major characters and countries were. There is a glossary at the end of the book, but its dated and doesn't explain that the Napoleon had established the Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish vassal state or that the Kingdom of Naples was the southern half of what is now Italy. The only map of any value is at the very end of the book and is not well illustrated.
I am an army officer and have been to many of the places in the book, in the winter, and can tell you Armand de Caulaincourt does a poor job of describing how cold that region is in the winter and how rough and unforgiving the terrain can be.
This is also an account of how the Russians under Tsar Alexander I played "rope a dope" with the most powerful man in the world and used Napoleon's own character and successful strategies against him to destroy Le Grand Armee. Very well written. I never had much interest in the Napoleonic Period, but now I am going to read everything I can get my hands on about the Napoleonic Period, the man and his wars. What a bang for my 99 cents!
Don't be put off by the archaic lanuage, the translation from the original French is good and after a few pages you get into the swing. He is both admiring and critical of Napoleon. In fact, for stdents of the Emperor this book provide valuable insights into what dove the man and his considerable ego. I found it hard to put down, but then I am fascinated by Napoleon and military campaigns.
Geoffrey Lambert - author of "The Morozov Inheritance"
One assumes that the Wehmacht's General Staff had access to at least some of the facts described here before launching Operation Barbarossa. It is a pity that Hitler did not read the book, because the parallels are uncanny.
Top reviews from other countries
Not published till well after everybody involved, including the author, was long dead, Caulaincourt appears to take great pride in really telling it all as he saw it. If we are to take him at his own estimate (as per the quote that titles this review), Caulaincourt was a man who spoke his mind, even to the famously and overpoweringly charismatic Napoleon.
That he could be critical and yet remain an admirer of Napoleon is frequently made clear. On the page following the personal character assessment I've used in the title of my review, Caulaincourt says 'the Emperor was carried away by his own illusion.' But elsewhere he says such things as 'he seemed to me sublime', or 'the Emperor was stronger than adversity.'
If you have more than just a passing interest in this era, I'd say this essential. Better still, it's a joy to read; not only is Caulaincourt's story inherently interesting, it's also well-written, which can't be said of all such memoirs. Even the tale of how the manuscript came down to posterity is fascinating!
General Armand de Caulaincourt's mémoires were deemed so sensitive that they were not published in his lifetime. With luck, the mémoires surfaced just in time for WWII; This text was a reference text for the Wehrmacht top brass on the eve of Barbarossa (invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1941) ...
The book shows how unprepared the French 'Grand armée' of 1812 was for Winter warfare. It also shows/hints on how it manoeuvered, with great speed and using the Napoleonic concept of "corps d'armée". The French army what so fast, ... in fact faster (by a month approximatively) than the motorized Wehrmacht, a century later ...
Besides that, the author travelled in Napoleon's car in the last stretch of the way back to Paris, and had a glimpse, as no-one else, into the mind of the Emperor, with conversation subjects ranging from military, diplomacy, aristocracy (interesting to note that Napoleon - a product of the French Revolution - strongly believed in Nobility as a class/caste), and Law (Napoleon created the concept of 'Civil Law' with his 'Code de Justice').