Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace

Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace Book Cover Russia Against Napoleon: The True Story of the Campaigns of War and Peace
Dominic Lieven
Military History
Penguin Books
2010
Kindle
656

This is the best history of Russia's part in the Napoleonic Wars that I've read thus far. Unlike some of the other books on the topic, which cover only the 1812 campaign, this volume covers all of Russia's wars with Napoleon from 1805 to 1814.

The author does a really good job of describing the strengths and flaws of many of the main characters--Alexander, Kutuzov, de Tolly, and many others. He also does an admirable job of bringing to light many of the usually nameless Russian bureaucrats and soldiers that helped ensure victory by organizing replacements, fodder, uniforms, etc. The challenges that some of these logisticians faced must have been staggering, and yet they succeeded. The author also does a great job of breathing life into many of the significant players in the drama, such as Toll, von Diebitsch, Arakcheev, Ermolov, etc.

The battle descriptions are good, but generally a bit brief and greatly hindered by the lack of adequate maps. While there are a handful of campaign maps clumped at the beginning of the book, there are only one or two battle maps (IIRC Borodino and Leipzig), and even these show only the localities, and not troop locations or movements. Generally, I would subtract at least half a star from this book for the poor maps.

Finally, the author does a decent job of describing some diplomatic aspects of the wars, especially Alexander's views towards Napoleon, although the diplomatic coverage is not what I'd call comprehensive.

Overall, a highly recommended book for anyone interested in Russia in the Napoleonic era, but I'd recommend bringing your own military atlas for a better understanding of how the campaigns and battles unfolded.

  • Rating
4.5

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