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The Napoleonic Wars


Military historian Gunther Rothenberg provides a detailed account of the Napoleonic Wars in this installment of Cassell's multivolume series covering the history of warfare. The treatment is predominantly military rather than social. The matter-of-fact, dispassionate text is rich in tactical details and statistics, augmented by contemporary paintings, well-designed maps, and diagrams. The actions of the protagonists' commanders are also critically assessed, with much attention given to Napoleon himself, stressing the power of his charisma but showing that his insistence on sole control ultimately proved a weakness. Significantly, The Napoleonic Wars aims to show that, far from being the end of a military era, this was a period marking the origins of modern warfare. Developments in army organization, strategy, and weaponry gained from the experience of over 20 years of war are progressively described. The main points of Rothenberg's argument, that Napoleonic strategies continued to be followed and that the sheer scale of war was revolutionary, are summed up in the brief epilogue. The bulk of the broadly chronological text is uncluttered by too much speculation; military-history buffs will appreciate The Napoleonic Wars for its clarity.

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Tags: Napoleonic, dispassionate, tactical, matteroffact, social