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Swords Around A Throne Paperback – March 22, 1997
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Top Customer Reviews
Every possible subject is covered, from its commanders, all the combat arms and supporting services, strategy, tactics, and logistics, to such seldom covered topics as marches, bivouacs, awards, horses, discipline, law and order, military intelligence, and the Imperial General Staff. Based on thirty years of research, most of it from primary sources, some not used before in English, it puts the end to many myths and misconceptions (such as the Waterloo myths about the Imperial Guard), and enlightens the reader as to what made up that terrible instrument of war, the Grande Armee. A companion volume to the author's A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars, it also stands alone as a work of immense depth, accuracy, and profound insight.
Background material is also provided in the early chapters on the Royal Army of the Ancien Regime and the armies of the French Revolution. Additionally, allies, foreign troops in French service, and the Grande Armee's enemies are also given separate chapters. The book is also highly anecdotal, being peppered with stories of personages great and not so great. Keen insight into the character of the soldiers talked about is thorough and uncanny. Generals, captains, and the man in the ranks are all quoted and talked about throughout this engrossing study.Read more ›
(NOTE: if you read "Swords around the throne" while leafing through the four-volume "Napoleonic uniforms" by the same author, the experience will be truly unforgettable.)
I highly recommend this for those who already have firm background on the period, particularly the battles and campaigns. If you are keenly interested in what the grand armee ate for breakfast the morning of Austerlitz, you won't be disappointed. It is also an excellent topical reference.
The downturn for me was about page 300. Elting only occassionally translates French phrases (very disconcerting for a Germanophile) and it was hard for me to get excited about the uniform piping of every single transportation, supply, service, and administrative battalion. But read on! It does get better.
If you want to know about Napoleonic warfare in general, I would steer you to Rothenberg and Chandler. If you want to eat, sleep, march, breathe, and fight with one of the greatest armies in western history, it is worth the time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This one I did not particularly enjoy but again, I assumed it would be something is was not nor did it clam to be. Read morePublished 2 months ago by l. s. miller
One of those books you can't put down, which, with its 769 pages, can become a problem. The narrative is extremely readable, often you feel like your are chatting with a veteran of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Ivan Vukcevic
If I could recommend one book as the starting point to what has been called the 'abyss of Napoleonic history', this would be it. This is my favorite book on the subject. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Reviews for the Common Man
While I love almost all of the books on Napoleon, and his wars, reading a list of regiments, and where they faught rather than the story of the battles they fought against, rather... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Raymond D.
This is the most in depth, descriptive and informative books on Napoleon's Grand Army. Everything you can think of is covered in this book. Read morePublished on January 2, 2014 by Nicholas Roberts
Elting was a very good historian & researcher. He wrote well and with a wicked sense of humor. He is missed by the Napoleonic Society.Published on November 23, 2013 by Rosalind W. Siegel
The authors knowledge of the subject is excellent. It is not a story, but a publication of a great amount of information that at times over loads the brain of the average reader. Read morePublished on October 22, 2013 by Brian Reynolds
The best book I have read discussing the nuts and bolts of Napoleon's armies; food, clothing, organization, tactics, weapons and the characteristics of the several branches of his... Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by John M. Danielski
This book could stand on its own as a work of literature. This is an exhaustive study of the minutiae of Napoleon's Grand Armee, and might easily have become a plodding reference... Read morePublished on June 5, 2012 by Edward J. Fleming