Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review of La Grande Armee by Georges Blond

Author:   Georges Blond (translated by Marshall May).
Title:  La Grande Armee.
Publisher:  Arms and Armour.
Pages:  544.
Copyright:  1979 (English publication in 1997).

My experience with the Napoleonic Wars has been the 15mm games of Napoleon's Battles and Age of Eagles I've gamed.  The uniforms are colorful and the French are glorious.  But that's about it.  I've only read a couple of books on the period.

One of which was La Grande Armee by Georges Blond.  He starts with the formation of the Grande Armee in 1805 as it goes about the continent crushing its opposition.  The major campaigns are covered from Boulogne and Austerlitz to Spain, Moscow, and finally Waterloo.  I learned more from the book about the 1813 and 1814 campaigns when Napoleon was scraping the bottom of the barrel regarding his manpower requirements when the Allies stormed the gates of Paris.

La Grande Armee also covers the ulcer that was Spain.  That combined with the losses from the 1812 Russian campaign doomed Napoleon.  I'd read one account of 1812 in detail.  That combined with La Grande Armee are my introduction to Napoleonics.

Blond writes in a very French style I enjoyed.  It was different from the usual English and American academics I've read.  I also have Detailles' illustrated La Armee Franscaise.  Blond had the advantage of interviewing people who'd talked to the survivors of the Napoleonic wars during the 1930's.  But the author was still objective enough to see the failings of a general like Napoleon who said he could afford to lose 30,000 troops a month while his enemies couldn't.


However, I'd like to add to my library regarding the Napoleonic Wars.  Any suggestions would be helpful.  Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Well, there is no shortage of books to read/aquire regarding the Napoleonic era, that's for sure! It really depends upon what yu're looking for...

    Uniform/flag information
    Overall history of the Napoleonic era, military and or civil
    Specific battles (eg, Austerlitz, Borodino)
    Specific campaigns/Thetares (egh 1809 in Germany, the invasion of Russia, the Peninsular campaigns)
    Biographies of Napoleon, the Marshals, Allied leaders
    Studies of the Military of specific nations (eg Austria, Russia)
    etc., etc! :-)

    Certainly, if you haven't read it/don't own it, in English David Chandler's massive but excellent "The Campaigns of Napoelon" has to be the first book I'd frecommend. Also outstanding are John Gill's books "WIth Eagles to Glopry" (about the states of the Confederation of the Rhine in 1809) and his three volume trilogy on 1809, "Thunder on the Danube".

    Gunther Rothenburg's books are good especially re Austria.

    F. Lorraine Petre's campaign histories date back to the early 1900's, but are still good.

    Jame's Arnold's "Crisis ion the Danube" (1809) and Crisis in the Snows (Eylau campaign 1807) are both very good as well.

    Mark Adkin's "The Waterloo Companion" has just about everything you could want to know about that famous battle.

    So many more I could list... my own library has to have have over 100 Napoleonic books in it... and I still buy more, and learn useful tings from them!

    Have fun!