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The Campaigns of Napoleon

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  874 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Napoleonic war was nothing if not complex -- an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of moves and intentions, which by themselves went a long way towards baffling and dazing his conventionally-minded opponents into that state of disconcerting moral disequilibrium which so often resulted in their catastrophic defeat."

The Campaigns of Napoleon is an exhaustive analysis and critique

Hardcover, 1172 pages
Published March 1st 1973 by Scribner (first published 1966)
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Mar 19, 2016 Mark rated it it was amazing
Though nearly a half-century has passed since its initial publication, David Chandler's study of Napoleon Bonaparte's military campaigns remains unsurpassed -- and after reading it, it is easy to see why. Over the course of a thousand pages, Chandler charts Napoleon's military career, from his early years at the École Militaire to his final defeat in the Hundred Days campaign. Aided by a generous selection of maps, he details the maneuvers of every campaign and the course of every major battle, ...more
Feb 15, 2014 Monique rated it it was amazing
I've always known Napoleon to be one of the great titans of military history; you can't say his name without reactions from both sides of those who have read about him. Chandler does the impossible; he writes a book so well about the mad genius of Napoleon on the battlefield I felt myself swept up in the great elan (a word that comes up throughout the entire tome) and it made me really appreciate the complications of total war.
not gonna lie though this book was a beast to read. but I loved it!
José Nebreda
Jun 05, 2016 José Nebreda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una maravilla, a pesar de sus lógicas limitaciones.
Apr 25, 2016 AGamarra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, historia
Este libro es un compendio de más de 1200 páginas de las campañas militares de Napoleón a lo largo de su vida como estratega militar. Es cierto que hay muchos detalles que no están presentes, incluso a mi parecer algunos muy importantes pero es sin duda uno de los mejores y más completos libros sobre las batallas que libró como general, cónsul y más tarde emperador.
Todas las campañas están explicadas en orden cronológico estricto y al detalle sobre las causas políticas, movimientos previos, prep
Nov 09, 2008 Dergrossest rated it really liked it
If you are only going to buy 1 book about Napoleonic Warfare, get this. It costs a small fortune, but it's a beautiful book complete with detailed maps and accountings of all of Napoleon's many battles. It may be more than you are looking for, but this is as complete as a single volume history can get. Recommended.
Ian Colby
Dec 19, 2014 Ian Colby rated it it was ok
Good god. It's like reading an 1100 page transcript of a game of Risk. I did not read this with great élan....(more detailed review when I have time.)
Mario Zecca
Mar 14, 2015 Mario Zecca rated it it was amazing
I am generally a pacifist, idealistically, but somehow, perhaps through the so-called male "war gene," I find military history, when it is insightfully well written, fascinating. Chandler, whose painstaking research sometimes overwhelms, makes references to names and events I admit I don't bother to look up. But the meat of the text is straight forward. I find good history books shed light on my understanding of the world we live in.

This is no sugar-coated ode to Napoleon and his era, all the d
Feb 20, 2014 Windsor rated it it was amazing
Is there a 19 star option? This is the third time I have read this book, and I will continue to go back to it. Chandler's brilliance in making Napoleon human is unmatched in the countless other books I have read on the subject. There really is no reason to hate this book, even if you hate Napoleon. Theme of the book? "There is too much Napoleon in Napoleon."
Walt O'Hara
Jun 18, 2013 Walt O'Hara rated it it was amazing
One of those epochal works that becomes a game changer in its field. I know of few history writers specializing in Napoleon that don't reference this book at some point.
Oct 25, 2016 Andrés rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read if you are interested in Napoleonic warfare. Chandler's prose is quite readable. The huge scope and detail could be daunting, but Chandler's mastery of his subject makes it very interesting.
Dec 07, 2016 Iain rated it really liked it
I have only read chapters of interest, but seems well deserving of its excellent reputation. Comprehensive and yet very approachable
Apr 05, 2013 Nathan rated it it was amazing
One of the best biographies I've ever read. This book is not for everyone, though. I took a couple of military and strategy classes in grad school, and still struggled to understand the strategic and tactical battlefield maneuvers. But the grand strategy and high politics of the Napoleonic Wars are fairly easy to understand, so even if you can't follow the battles, this book is worth it just for the grand strategy.

Napoleon was surely a genius. This book is incredible at analyzing his strategies
Feb 04, 2016 Aidan rated it liked it
This was an average text. It has been overhyped and overrated, and is in actuality not as good as one might expect from all the positive reviews.

The quality of the writing is actually quite below par, Chandler is boring to read and the text simply does not flow at times. There are places where you have to force yourself on consciously just to get through the paragraphs he writes. The author excels when he is describing campaigns where Napoleon shone, campaigns such as those taking place during y
May 09, 2016 Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Much like some of Napoleon's best battles, this book is a veritable masterpiece which I would strongly recommend to anyone interested in a broad and relatively detailed report of Napoleon's campaigns or military history of the time.

The content is extensive and well supported by references, source material and anecdotes. At the same time, the writing style is very narrative, which makes it a pleasure to read; rather than a book to fall asleep over.
The author succeeds in painting a relatively obj
Nov 18, 2014 Michael rated it it was amazing
Chandler's tome on the campaigns of Napoleon is epic in scope and yet manages to convey all the crucial military details. He covers the entire arc of Napoleon's career and delves deeply into all the major battles. He explains the system of warfare pioneered by the general and future emperor. These concepts then inform the analysis of each campaign and battle. Unlike many histories (even some military histories) the maps are excellent. The battle maps display the movement of all the relevant unit ...more
Ian Rees
Dec 21, 2015 Ian Rees rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, history
An extremely thorough look at Napoleon's campaigns - not just his battles, but his entire military career, his campaign strategies and battle tactics. Quite a breathtaking piece of work.

I first read this in 1976 and decided to re-read it in view of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the end of the Napoleonic period. The work is no less brilliant, but I saw it with different eyes. The sheer scale of Napoleon's wars was staggering and the way he was quite willing to accept casualt
Dec 18, 2011 Bap rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
At 1100 pages, it is a doorstopper of a book. I have owned this baby for about 20 years. It is a little intimidating. I am on the Italian campaign, much more to go. I will take this in little bites because frankly the descriptions of the battles pretty much run into themselves.
Am now up to about 732 pages on the brink of the disasterous Russian campaign. This book is for the serious Napoleon fan and goes into great detail the military genius of Napoleon. Wellington said that Napoleon's presence
May 09, 2013 Olethros rated it really liked it
-Ese mamporrero, ese microcirujano, ese obseso del tiempo como la dimensión más importante en su oficio-.

Género. Historia.

Lo que nos cuenta. Análisis general, desde el punto de vista militar y en orden estrictamente cronológico, de la concepción de la guerra y su puesta en práctica más operativa que tenía el protagonista de la obra, desde Brienne a Waterloo.

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If there must be a Bible about the Napoleonic Wars, it is this. Well written, easy to read, and balanced around a difficult figure, Chandler gives a campaign history of Napoleon as a commander as well as giving the understanding of the tactics and style of war during the time period. Writing in the 70s, Chandler gives a proper history of Napoleon as a commander that has yet to be matched. Note: This is a campaign history of Napoleon as a commander, so wars such as the Peninsular Wars get only a ...more
JZ Temple
Aug 28, 2007 JZ Temple rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I've owned this book since college, which was back in the days when we wore racoon skin coats and boaters . Absolutely the definitive study of Napoleon's campaigns and looking through it recently I find it still stands up versus newer works. It does only cover campaigns where Napoleon was a participant, so not all the campaigns from the Napoleonic wars are covered. Also while it does give a limited biography of Napoleon it does shy away from the bigger picture of ruling France and the political, ...more
Aug 08, 2012 Adam rated it liked it
Although the size and subject matter appears daunting, Chandler does well in structure and flow. His style of prose flows enough to allow an ease of understanding. He kept his descriptions straightforward and I didn't have to re-read in order to build comprehension.

Of course, this wasn't something I picked up off the shelf for personal reading. I had accompanying seminars for my coursework. I recommend it for use in a similar formal study of Napoleon's strategy and tactics.
Oct 13, 2014 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Chandler provides an easy narrative of Napoleon's campaigns. The book supplies exceptional detail about late 18th and early 19 century military tactics, organization, and operations, providing a new reader with an accessible frame of reference, but not in such a way as to disrupt the narrative. The title, however is quite literal; campaigns on which Napoleon is not present are only briefly summarized, as are most of the diplomatic and political maneuverings of the belligerents.
Aug 11, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
Serious readers of The Napoleonic Wars should not look farther than Chandler's heavyweight work on the military campaigns of the great man. Sumptious detail from an academic who knows the military mind and is able to convey the mahnitude of the battlefield in fine detail. Fifty years old now but still as valid as when it was first published. I first read it in the mid eighties and returned 25 to it years later. A marvel
Aug 07, 2012 Benjamin rated it it was amazing
The fact that this book has maps that list almost EVERY landmark mentioned in the text warrants it 6 stars. Chandler's account is extremely crisp but never once sacrificed on detail; it's by far the most detailed account of the (purely) military aspects of the Napoleonic era. I've last read this book a few years back and stopped at the Battle of Austerlitz.

As with any serious work on military history, mapwork is absolutely vital.
Sep 26, 2014 Jur rated it really liked it
Shelves: napoleonics, own
Chandler's book is still the standard work in English on Napoleonic warfare, even though published more than 45 years ago. You can easily trace his influence through other English accounts of the battle.

However, the absense of German and Dutch sources (even those published in French) is a considerable limitation. Let alone those Russian or Spanish.

Ralph Davis
Jul 03, 2012 Ralph Davis rated it it was amazing
It's interesting to read this book and compare its portrayal of Napoleon to the one Tolstoy presents in War and Peace. Another interesting comparison is Von Clausewitz's The Campaign of 1812 in Russia. He was on the Russian general staff, and gives us a searing analysis of Napoleon's dumbest mistake.
Mar 14, 2011 Billy rated it really liked it
Shelves: napoleon
A monumental book. The chapter on the Napoleonic way of war is worth the cost of the book by itself. Be aware that this book is NOT a history of the Napoleonic Wars. It deals with the campaigns that Napoleon was present, which means that whole sections of the Peninsular War are ignored. The loss of a star was for the spotty nature of the maps. A work this length should have much better maps.
Will Davies
Mar 31, 2008 Will Davies rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Militarists and the French
This book is surprisingly a page turner. Written with an almost fictional quality. While a long book it is a thriller, while detailed it is not microdetailed. Microdetailed, is that even a word? Anyway, Napoleon's Campaigns are done sweet justice in this book, you will enjoy and learn why he was good and why he lost.
Jan 16, 2013 Mikey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am currently in volume 2 and I find it is written in a way as to spur my reading onward. My particular reading style is catered to very well by Chandler, besides the fact that the visual quality and the feel of a Folio Society book is always a satifying experience. Really enjoying this perspective as I have already read Napoleon Against Russia, that had a unique Russian point of view.
Dec 17, 2012 Rob rated it it was amazing
Spectacular synthesis of concise grand strategic viewpoints with a nice leavening of commentary. Excellent prose and well-paced. At some points I wish the author could have zoomed in further, but at 1216 pages already, he might not have felt that he had the luxury. Highly recommended.
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David G. Chandler was a British historian whose study focused on the Napoleonic era. As a young man he served briefly in the army, reaching the rank of captain, and in later life he taught at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. According to his obituary in the The Daily Telegraph, his "comprehensive account of Napoleon's battles" (his classic "The Campaigns of Napoleon") is "unlikely to be impr ...more
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