The French side of the Napoleonic Wars is often seen from a strategic point of view, or in terms of military organisation and battlefield tactics, or through officers’ memoirs. It is rarely seen from the perspective of the lowest ranks of the army, and the experience of the ordinary soldiers is less well known and is often misunderstood. That is why this account, based on more than 1,600 letters written by French soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, is of such value. It adds to the existing literature by exploring every aspect of the life of a French soldier during the period 1799-1815. The book is fascinating and informative reading for military and cultural historians, but it will also appeal to anyone who is interested in the war experience of common soldiers.
FIGHTING FOR NAPOLEON French Soldier’s Letters 1799-1815
This title offers the English-speaking audience a French view of a conflict which is too often limited to the traditional memoirs of Captain Coignet, Colonel Marbot or Sergeant Bourgogne. This work takes us into the daily life of the Grande Armee, with its suffering and the atrocities committed. Unlike diaries and memoirs written by officers, they captured the real experience of the common soldier. The authors have compiled a very valuable work.
Bernard Wilkin, Rene Wilkin
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Hardback, 184 pages