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Review for Russian Eyewitness Accounts of the Campaign of 1814

Author/Director : Alexander Mikaberidze

Format : Book

Did you know that when Alexander, Tsar of Russia, during the invasion of France in 1814, gave an Imperial banquet an arc of wood was cut from the table to accommodate the enormous stomach of the King of Württemberg. Furthermore, in 1814, the Swiss did not remove their hats while eating lunch. I was unaware of both of these facts before I read this remarkable book. The author has brought together a massive collection of first hand accounts written by Russians who took part in the 1814 campaign which culminated with the downfall of Napoleon. Some accounts are barely more than one page, others run into many pages. Some are exciting with the cut and thrust of battle. One, not so exciting, is a ‘boring’ daily diary chronicling moving and halting for nine days in the course of which the writer covered 200km forward and back! It really does bring home the reality of Napoleonic soldiering. There are many references to looking for food, fodder and a place to rest indoors if possible because this was January in north-western France with ice floes on the rivers destroying pontoon bridges. In a number of cases there are conflicting views of the same event reinforcing the notion that no two people on the same battlefield see the same battle.
There are only two maps, a few good illustrations and nearly 300 pages that are well worth reading.
Thoroughly recommended.

Published by : Frontline Books. Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2013
ISBN : 978-1-84832-707-8

Review last updated : 2018-03-28 18:59:02

See also : other "Napoleonic Wars" reviews