Joachim Murat (1767-1815), whose career took him to the heights as a cavalry commander and one of Napoleon’s marshals, was intended for the church but a priestly life was not for him. Before taking the first step in Holy Orders as a sub-deacon he quit the seminary and, at the age of twenty, joined the army. In 1795 he met Napoleon and became his first aide-de-camp in Italy where he distinguished himself in the 1796-’97 campaign during which he led his first cavalry charge. In January 1800 he married Napoleon’s sister, Caroline. He commanded the French cavalry at Marengo, was appointed commander of the Grand Army in the German campaign of 1805 and subsequently commanded the cavalry at Jena, Eylau and Friedland and in 1808 was made general-in-chief of the French armies in Spain and on 1 August succeeded Joseph Bonaparte as king of Naples. The subsequent decline of his fortunes are well described in this book which provides a very entertaining, straightforward account of a commander who was adored by the troops he led. Like Ney he ended his life in front of a firing squad – on 13 October 1815. His was a meteoric career.
A. H. Atteridge
Usually despatched within 2-5 Days
2002 N & M Press reprint (original pub 1911). SB. xi + 304pp with seven b/w illus and three plans