Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815 eBook

Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815 ❰EPUB❯ ✻ Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815 Author Charles J. Esdaile – Buyprobolan50.co.uk Napoleon s Wars is a book which has no doubt about Napoleon s insatiable greed for military glory, but it is interested in farthan that Packed with fresh insights and surprises for the many Napoleon a Napoleon s Wars is An International PDF/EPUB ½ a book which has no doubt about Napoleon s insatiable greed for military glory, but it is interested in farthan that Packed with fresh insights and surprises for the many Napoleon addicts out there, this is history on the grandest and most ambitious scale a superb reassessment of a tumultuous era.


10 thoughts on “Napoleon's Wars: An International History, 1803-1815

  1. Dimitri Dimitri says:

    A history of the Napoleonic period in the Clausewitzian manner It is a tale of politics and diplomacy where the romantic thunder of guns roars in the distance This is not to say that pure analysis is neglected, indeed Esdaile distils as much observation into a paragraph as many battle monographies in a few hundred pages, but he doesn t offer a clear military timeline for the unitiated He isn t devoid of surprises, either, when held against the light of traditional Boney bashing historiography A history of the Napoleonic period in the Clausewitzian manner It is a tale of politics and diplomacy where the romantic thunder of guns roars in the distance This is not to say that pure analysis is neglected, indeed Esdaile distils as much observation into a paragraph as many battle monographies in a few hundred pages, but he doesn t offer a clear military timeline for the unitiated He isn t devoid of surprises, either, when held against the light of traditional Boney bashing historiography As a specialist of the Peninsular War, he sees the possibility of French victory at the outset, both sides being roughly equal It s repeatedly stressed that the Coalitions of Napoleonic wars weren not ideological in nature Rather than reactionist monoliths, all participants continued to pursue the long term territorial interests that had guided the continuous dynastic warfare of the 18th century They were perfectly willing to let a Republican France exist, if the peace treaty satisfied said interests This attitude was extended at the various treaties of the day most importantly Amiens 1803 and the raft at Tilsit 1807.which would have left France in possession of the Low Countries as well as its satellite states in Italy and Germany This leads the book to the conclusion that each renewal of coalition warfare be traced back to Napoleon s insatiable ambitions Can it Apologists maintain that Napoleon s campaigns were at heart defensive in nature Either way, this is one point where the monster of British folklore rears its head and it costs the book a star There is also a disproportionate amount of attention for British cabinet politics, where other states foreign policy is often limited to the standpoint of their rulers.The global reach of the wars is looked at in detail, from the naval wrestling in Master and Commander over the back and forth conquests of Carribean colonies to sideshow wars between Russia and the Ottoman Empire Bloody hurrah s echo across the Balkan the Caucasus as the Continental Blockade tightens its grip but this insightful exposition on the causalities of 1810 1811 fades inevitably into an impatient countdown towards that Barbarossa of the Napoleonic period, the War of 1812.The pace picks up again at the conference of Vienna, with the 100 Days delegated to a lost cause A curious parallel is drawn between Metternich s Cold War esque design and the power balance as it existed in Europe at the zenith of 1809 an equally strong France and Russia could preserve the peace, with their respective dependencies the German states, the partitioned lands of Poland acting as buffers


  2. John Tarttelin John Tarttelin says:

    One of the most biased and one sided books I have ever read in my life This diatribe is as balanced as a one legged stool Esdaile starts with the arbitrary date of 1803 as if France and Britain had not been fighting each other for decades It was French support for American Independence from an Imperial, dominating and arrogant British government, that helped bankrupt France and bring on the Revolution of 1789 There was a British fleet under Admiral Hood actually in Toulon harbour in 1793 a One of the most biased and one sided books I have ever read in my life This diatribe is as balanced as a one legged stool Esdaile starts with the arbitrary date of 1803 as if France and Britain had not been fighting each other for decades It was French support for American Independence from an Imperial, dominating and arrogant British government, that helped bankrupt France and bring on the Revolution of 1789 There was a British fleet under Admiral Hood actually in Toulon harbour in 1793 aiding Royalist rebels interfering in a conflict that was no business of the British And it was a young Napoleon who responded to this British aggression by siting his cannon so that the Royal Navy had no option but to evacuate the French town One wonders what the corrupt aristocratic and oligarchic British government of the day would have said about French vessels suddenly appearing at Portsmouth or the Pool of London and sticking their oar into British internal affairs Esdaile quotes copiously from the likes of Fouche, Talleyrand, Bourrienne and Remusat all hostile witnesses, despite himself saying their views are open to question General John Elting in his masterly book Swords Around a Throne 1988 refused to use Bourrienne and Remusat at all because their memoirs are so notoriously unreliable He stated that In preparing this book I have used original sources whenever possible but have ignored the alleged memoirs of Louis Bourrienne, Paul Barras, Clare de Remusat, Laure Permon, and Miot de Melito, which are mendacious and worthless P 735 Indeed, most of them were written for a Bourbon and royalist audience.Fouche and Talleyrand were serial traitors who betrayed Napoleon and France on innumerable occasions No wonder a contemporary called them vice and crime Bourrienne was caught with his hand in the till, Napoleon forgave him and he was given another lucrative post until he repeated his crime Are we to trust the words of a criminal against the man who forgave him and gave him a second chance Esdaile is constantly contradicting himself and every thing he mentions is given a hostile spin He evens endeavours to blame Napoleon for the worst Russian winter in 100 years in 1812 Esdaile obviously knows nothing about the spate of volcanic eruptions that affected the weather of the period The decade 1810 1820 was the coldest decade of the C19th due to those eruptions filling the atmosphere with dust leading to widespread climate change an El Nino event which affected world temperatures, and a low sunspot count which is also indicative of low temperatures.According to Esdaile, Napoleon repeatedly forced other countries to attack him Everything was his fault and his fault alone Esdaile s Napoleon is like a James Bond villain who gets up every morning with the thought of dominating the world before he has had his breakfast It would be amusing if it wasn t so pathetic And of course, he quotes British politicians who decry Napoleon for wanting world domination, when the British Navy was dominating the seas and forcing every other nation to bow to their will And as for England being the land of the free , yes it did abolish slavery in 1807 but this did not stop it impressing seamen from other nations and refusing thereafter to ever give them shore leave in case they deserted This insufferable arrogance led to America declaring war on Britain in 1812 No doubt, that was all Napoleon s fault too This isn t history it s propaganda


  3. A.J. Howard A.J. Howard says:

    Napoleon s Wars prevents a interestingly contrasting viewpoint to the last book I read that involved the Napoleonic Wars, War and Peace For Tolstoy, history is a impersonal and indifferent force that selfishly dominates the determination of fate, leaving little room for the individual, even where the individual is a great leaders, leaving them to ride the wave of events with the ordinary mass of humanity Esdaile s history doesn t directly refute this viewpoint He doesn t believe that since onNapoleon s Wars prevents a interestingly contrasting viewpoint to the last book I read that involved the Napoleonic Wars, War and Peace For Tolstoy, history is a impersonal and indifferent force that selfishly dominates the determination of fate, leaving little room for the individual, even where the individual is a great leaders, leaving them to ride the wave of events with the ordinary mass of humanity Esdaile s history doesn t directly refute this viewpoint He doesn t believe that since one man willed something, thus it was so He also rejects the notion that one figure completely dominated the making of history in the early 19th century However, he does argue that many events of the Napoleonic Wars played out the way they did due almost entirely to the whims and caprices of Napoleon Bonaparte.Esdaile s main argument that however modern or revolutionary the Napoleonic Wars were, they should be viewed through the lens of the almost full century of European War the preceded it Napoleon wasn t so much trying to spread revolutionary zeal throughout the continent or create in himself a new Alexander as he was trying to accomplish the foreign policy goals of Louis XIV Additionally, the allied powers weren t old regime autocrats who relentlessly struggled to crush revolutionary France and restore the Bourbons Instead, their motives in fighting the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars coincided with their foreign policy objectives in the 18th century Indeed, kingdom s concerns about Napoleon often were overshadowed by their concerns in respect to other states, including other Allied powers Esdaile argues that the European states were incapable of resisting France until they resolved to put other concerns aside and act resolutely in a unified manner According to Esdaile, this wasn t because Napoleon was a particular genius but because of the inherent demographic advantages of France itself Similar resolution was required to defeat Louis XIV in the Wars of Spanish Sucession However, getting several 19th century monarchs to agree to put their immediate interests aside to sacrifice for the good of the whole is not as easy as you might think.So much of what this book is about is how this resolution to act for the greater good was finally made This is where the particular personality of Napoleon Bonaparte comes into play Esdaile s Napoleon is a vainglorious warlord with a crippling addiction to glory Several times Napoleon could have settled, but his own ambition made this impossible Whether this was the case or not we ll never know The facts of history tends to support the notion that Napoleon could not be satisfied with a general peace, but there is room for contrary arguments We ll never know how Napoleon would have operated under a lasting peace with Britain.Esdaile s argument is that Napoleon was almost wholly responsible for the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens and the start of the War of the Third Coalition in 1803 While it s true that Napoleon didn t act like a man dedicated to upholding the peace, neither did Britain, and a fair share of the blame should be given to their belligerency, which Esdaile is reluctant to do This led to an interesting situation because while Britain controlled the seas, especially after Trafalger, France was by far the most powerful state on the continent of Europe, and all British intervention on the continent was limited and mostly ineffective until around 1812 Therefore, Britain had to rely on proxies to fight France on the continent while all of Napoleon s act of agressions in Europe for the rest of his career can be justified as means to support France in this war Unfortunately for Britain, the other powers of Europe, Austria, Prussia and Russia, could not put aside grievances with each other and their own separate foreign policy goals to focus on Napoleon.The result of this is that by the end of the first decade of the 19th century Napoleon completely dominated almost all of Continental Europe Austria and Prussia had been repeatedly humiliated, Russia was an ally, steps were taken toward a unified Germany and Italy, and Napoleon s brothers were sovereigns of Holland, Naples, Westphalia and Spain Not bad for a man whose chief goal a mere twenty years before had been to lead his native home of Corsica to independence from France.Napoleon s rise to power is breathtaking when you think about it, but might be overshadowed by how quickly he fell Napoleon simply overextended himself He was stuck in a mire in Spain and then he made the fateful decision to invade Russia The Russian invasion is a tragedy arising directly from Napoleon s hubris The Russian s refusal to engage the French in battle turned Napoleon into his own nemesis His thirst for onedecisive act of glory forced him to push his army well beyond what he knew was prudent This, rather than a traditional defeat, is what caused the eventual collapse of Napolon s Grande Arm e.Once Russia made the determination to push beyond their own borders Napoleon was transformed into a bleeding swimmer in shark infested waters Napoleon was excessive in his punishments and territorial acquisitions in his last years in power His enemies were determined to restore the balance of power However, it didn t have to end in invasion of France, abdication and Bourbon restoration But Napoleon s vainglorious nature rejected the notion that terms should be dictated to him He continued to seek one last glory that would allow him to be master of his own fate While he fought an often masterful struggle against much larger armies France was weary of war, and in the end he was forced to abdicate.It should be noted, and Esdaile makes this clear within the first few pages, what the goals of this book are Like the tile suggests, the book is an account of the foreign policies of the European states during the Napoleonic Wars There are a plethora of books out there about theconventional subjects, and Esdaile keeps this in mind For instance, he isn t really concerned in giving the reader a military history of the Wars He will spend pages on the lead up to an event like the Battle of Austerlitz, and then a paragraph to the event itself, followed bypages dealing with the effects of the event. The book isn t a biography of Napoleon While necessary biographic details are provided Esdaile isn t trying to give the reader a better understanding of Napoleon the man In a way, as Esdaile argues this would be an impossible tact While Napoleon has many devoted admirers, he was able to inspire evenfervent enemies The man himself spent a large portion of his post Waterloo exile marshaling his forces for the inevitable battle of how he would be remembered by history Many contemporary sources read like the source is screaming I have an agenda between every sentence In fact, the text makes it apparent that Esdaile is not a huge fan of Napoleon, and heaps a lot of scorn on so called apologists I m not an expert in this area, or even particularly well read in it, so Esdaile might be accurate in his assessments, and of his course he is entitled to his in fact expert opinion However, I think he lets his prejudices and viewpoint creep into the text This usually drives me crazy, I like my historical prose to be neutral in tone and somewhat omnipotent seeming But this doesn t really derail the book.I ve seen some reviews that have said that this book is dry, too dense, or not for the casual reader of history I have to somewhat disagree Esdaile assumes some prior knowledge, but not much Any gaps in knowledge can easily be fulfilled by a few quick trips to wikapedia The prose is not fantastic, but it s not unreadable either Esdaile writes in long, information dense paragraphs but there s nothing there beyond the grasp of a general reader While the book is not popular fiction, anybody who thinks this is too academic has not read much scholarly work Of course this isn t meant to be a beginners course on the Napoleonic Era But it is what its title says it is.Esdaile and Tolstoy theories aren t completely incompatible While much of history is on a root level impersonal and inexplicable the actions of specific individuals can cause tiny ripples in the great wave While Napoleon was far from the single engine of history in the years of his reign, his personal characteristics played a substantial part in the determination of events While it is inappropriate to give Napoleon sole liability for the rise and fall of the Napoleonic Empire, it is equally inappropriate to excuse him from any blame or credit as an agent of a faceless greater force I think Tolstoy and Esdaile would agree that the answer lies somewhere in the spaces between.


  4. Filip Filip says:

    Solid account of Napoleon s Wars Only three stars because the Anglocentric perspective started to grate on me If only the title had been Napoleon s Wars and How They Affected the U.K and Its Overseas Territories , that would have beenaccurate The author s inability to see other perspectives also showed in annoying phrases like He then left Italy for the Peninsula as if Italy is not a peninsula and When Napoleon and Alexander of Russia met, the emperor both were emperors, Solid account of Napoleon s Wars Only three stars because the Anglocentric perspective started to grate on me If only the title had been Napoleon s Wars and How They Affected the U.K and Its Overseas Territories , that would have beenaccurate The author s inability to see other perspectives also showed in annoying phrases like He then left Italy for the Peninsula as if Italy is not a peninsula and When Napoleon and Alexander of Russia met, the emperor both were emperors, so who does the author mean I would think that there must be better quality histories of this fascinating period


  5. Sean Chick Sean Chick says:

    Usual British anti Napoleon drivel Ignores the fact that most countries declared war on Napoleon While not a hero, Bonaparte was hardly the proto Hitler of recent imagination.


  6. Justin Justin says:

    There s not much on offer here in the way of original scholarship The author s hectoring tone and pejorative filled diatribes however much they might be merited on the subject of First Consul Emperor Napoleon are unproductive and tiring Further, the stated aim of the book as elaborated in its introduction to provide an international context for the Napoleonic Wars, rather than focusing on the person and career of Napoleon hits wide of the mark, and generally recapitulates a diplomati There s not much on offer here in the way of original scholarship The author s hectoring tone and pejorative filled diatribes however much they might be merited on the subject of First Consul Emperor Napoleon are unproductive and tiring Further, the stated aim of the book as elaborated in its introduction to provide an international context for the Napoleonic Wars, rather than focusing on the person and career of Napoleon hits wide of the mark, and generally recapitulates a diplomatic history of the First Empire that is of course already well worn territory for historians of the period Perhaps useful for a lay reader who is untutored in the period, but fairly pointless for anyone else


  7. Rich Rich says:

    Esdaile sets out to reframe the way Napoleon s legacy is viewed a tall order, but he gives it quite a go as he skillfully lays the blame for the violent conflicts that set Europe ablaze between 1803 and 1815 squarely on Napoleon I was actually prepared to dislike this book since his anti Napoleon slant is evident right out of the gate, but Esdaile actually makes some valid and thought provoking observations concerning Napoleon s wars He also sheds welcome light on some of the lesser known t Esdaile sets out to reframe the way Napoleon s legacy is viewed a tall order, but he gives it quite a go as he skillfully lays the blame for the violent conflicts that set Europe ablaze between 1803 and 1815 squarely on Napoleon I was actually prepared to dislike this book since his anti Napoleon slant is evident right out of the gate, but Esdaile actually makes some valid and thought provoking observations concerning Napoleon s wars He also sheds welcome light on some of the lesser known theaters where the international conflict raged I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a well written, scholarly study of this period of history


  8. Martin Hill Martin Hill says:

    The title of this book is misleading It should be called Napoleon s Diplomacy I bought it thinking it was a discussion of Napoleon s battles, his tactics, strategy, etc Instead, it is a discourse on Napoleon s political machinations with allies and enemies, domestic and foreign Battles are barely mentioned.Nevertheless, this book is a great resource Esdaile s scholarly work is painstakingly detailed about the ever changing alliances between European countries during Napoleon s rein so ev The title of this book is misleading It should be called Napoleon s Diplomacy I bought it thinking it was a discussion of Napoleon s battles, his tactics, strategy, etc Instead, it is a discourse on Napoleon s political machinations with allies and enemies, domestic and foreign Battles are barely mentioned.Nevertheless, this book is a great resource Esdaile s scholarly work is painstakingly detailed about the ever changing alliances between European countries during Napoleon s rein so ever changing it was hard to keep track of who was what at any given time It s a good addition to the library of any military historian


  9. Chris Chris says:

    In his book Napoleon s Wars , Charles Esdaile has given himself the herculean task of disproving the Great Man theory of history with regard to Napoleon Bonaparte This is no simple feat, as Napoleon is arguably the greatest man in modern history, being a master on the battlefield, a great mover in European diplomacy and a visionary in revising French law and regulations Thus, I was very interested in how Esdaile would argue against the significant role Napoleon played in shaping history s In his book Napoleon s Wars , Charles Esdaile has given himself the herculean task of disproving the Great Man theory of history with regard to Napoleon Bonaparte This is no simple feat, as Napoleon is arguably the greatest man in modern history, being a master on the battlefield, a great mover in European diplomacy and a visionary in revising French law and regulations Thus, I was very interested in how Esdaile would argue against the significant role Napoleon played in shaping history single handedly Unfortunately, Esdaile utterly fails in his attempt While providing great insight into the political situations of the era, Esdaile goes on to blame essentially all the conflicts from 1805 onwards solely on Napoleon s own vanity and ego and to praise British policy at every turn An objective, balanced history this is not To quote Hostilities began six days later when a British frigate opened fire on a French convoy in the Channel In a sense the symbolism was very fitting just as it had been the British who initiated the crisis, so it was the British who fired the first shots in the war However, neither this, nor the incontestable fact that Britain s retention of Malta constituted a prima facie of the Treaty of Amiens, makes the collapse of the peace settlement her responsibility On the contrary, in the last resort Napoleon in effect willed the fresh conflict To have avoided hostilities, he would have had to make serious concessions, but to have backed down would have been to damage the prestige that was in the end the only basis of his power Every time I read the above statement and there are plentyin the same vein , I am left utterly speechless Statements like these make one seriously question the objectivity of Esdaile Not only does Esdaile justify and defend nearly every decision made by the British government during this period, he neglects to ever give the French the same treatment As a piece of analysis, Napoleon s Wars is at best lacking, at worst mere propaganda and hero worship of the British regime.Esdaile seemingly hates Napoleon and goes into as he himself states dubious biographical psycho analysis of Napoleon s motivations Esdaile s conclusions sayabout Esdaile than they do about Napoleon, as Napoleon is made out to be essentially a sociopath hell bent on building up personal power and glory Somewhat ironically, all of this character analysis further works against Esdaile s own thesis that the Great Man theory of history is invalid In this regard, Andrew Roberts provides a farbelievable and better sourced picture of Napoleon as a person So why the 3 stars Well, unlike many other books I ve read about Napoleon, Esdaile provides a fantastic overview of the political situations which evolved in Europe at this time He gives great insight into the motivations of the various big players and provides context for the dissolution of politics into war Where Esdaile fails in his analysis of the situation, he makes up for with his detailed descriptions.A word of warning, Esdaile assumes a deep understanding of the events of the Napoleonic period This should not be your first book on the Napoleonic Wars I would recommend this book primarily as a companion piece to atraditional book on this era, such as Robert Andrews Napoleon the Great While Andrews gives an excellent narrative of Napoleon s life, Esdaile gives muchcontext to the political situation of Europe as a whole and provides muchinformation on the other side of the story.In the end, I feel that half of Napoleon s Wars consists of crazed ramblings, while the other half presents clear and concise descriptions of the political intrigues of the Napoleonic Era In conclusion, taken with a large grain of salt and ignoring Esdaile s prejudices, this book does provide excellent context for the motivations of the nations involved in the Napoleonic Wars Just don t get too caught up in Edaile s so called analysis of the situations described


  10. Jen Jen says:

    Somehow I think that I know remarkably little about Napoleon and his wars Then I pick up a book to correct my woeful lack of knowledge and I remember how many books I ve read about him, that podcast I listened to for MONTHS about him, and I think oh that s why all this sounds familiar With Napoleon, his character tends to bleed into mythos It s hard to see him as a real person, as he is so much larger shortness aside than life I believe that he felt this way about himself as well He was Somehow I think that I know remarkably little about Napoleon and his wars Then I pick up a book to correct my woeful lack of knowledge and I remember how many books I ve read about him, that podcast I listened to for MONTHS about him, and I think oh that s why all this sounds familiar With Napoleon, his character tends to bleed into mythos It s hard to see him as a real person, as he is so much larger shortness aside than life I believe that he felt this way about himself as well He was so much beyond the normal that he felt infallible And just like calling a ship unsinkable gives you the Titanic, calling a man infallible gives you the collapse of the Grande Armee in Russia.This book does an admirable job of walking you through every campaign of Napoleon, with almost excruciating detail Trust me, you re going to know Napoleon You re also going to know all about the interweaving alliances and the politics in Europe at the time that allowed France to do what it did.It should be noted that the author is not a fan of Napoleon I m going to paraphrase, but I swear to you that the following occurred in the bookBritain did this this and this, but it was still all Napoleon s fault that there was ever a war I honestly laughed out loud at that The author seemed very intent on assigning blame for the wars, which honestlyI don t think anyone gets 100% of that Over and over again, the author stressed that Napoleon started itMOMMMMM, NAPOLEON INVADED PRUSSIAMOOMMMMMM.I probably should readabout Napoleon, because he s fascinating And this book filled maybe not holes, but divots in my Napoleonic knowledge


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *