This book covers the first part of Napoleon’s return from Elba in 1815, the beginning of “The Hundred Days”. The author uses eyewitness and participants accounts, and often quote their own words on the events. The same technique as the author used in his triology on the Invasion of Russia in 1812. Most books cover this period of “The Hundred Days” rather quickly, so they can get to the main event, The Battle of Waterloo. Here we follow Napoleon from his landing in the south of France all the way to Paris. We are also told how Paris react to news of the landing, and how the statesmen, soldiers and ordinary people of France greeted Napoleon’s return.
1815: THE RETURN OF NAPOLEON Bonaparte’s March Back to Power
Paul Britten Austin, distinguished historian of Napoleon’s assault on Russia, here turns his attention to the Emperor’s return from his first exile on Elba in 1815. His exciting narrative follows Napoleon from his landing in southern France with a tiny force of followers, through his ever more triumphant progress gathering troops on his road north, to his final triumphant entry to Paris and the palace of the Tuileries.
Review from 1/72 Scale Plastic Napoleonic Figures
Considering the enormous amount of attention the Waterloo campaign has received in print, it’s surprising that the events preceding the campaign have been practically ignored by English-language authors. Military historians may be deterred by the fact that Napoleon’s return to power was a practically bloodless affair however, it certainly wasn’t without drama as shown by Paul Britten Austin in this well-written work, reissued under the Frontline Books imprint. From the first day of the “adventure”, where the situation at Antibes threatened to degenerate into farce, to the arduous trek through the mountains to Grenoble, to the march on Paris in the face of the royalist army’s attempt to concentrate in defence of the capital, the outcome was far from a foregone conclusion.
The first chapter describes the landing at Antibes however, this isn’t where the story begins, and so the second chapter describes Napoleon’s time on Elba in a type of flashback style. The reasons for the return to France, the decision to do so and the subsequent preparations are described. The narrative is written in the present tense which is unusual nonetheless, this adds an extra dynamic to the account.
The book is very well researched, as witnessed by the extensive notes and also well written. This version is a high quality hardback with dust cover and includes five maps and twenty-seven black-and-white illustrations.