The Campaigns of Napoleon
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The Campaigns of Napoleon

4.46 of 5 stars 4.46  ·  rating details  ·  437 ratings  ·  37 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, 1216 pages
Published March 1st 1973 by Scribner (first published 1966)
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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!
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
Mario Zecca
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...more
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."
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.
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...more
Dec 18, 2011 Bap rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
Alaric Longward
All you need. Most of the battles and interesting reasoning behind some dubious decisions can be found in this book.
This book is worth its 1000+ pages of weightiness for the 100 page intro alone. Tremendously insightful about this man who was the subject of more books than any other human in the 19th century.
JZ Temple
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
Teddy Salad
-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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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.
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.
Betsy Balcombe
This is probably the best of Chandler's works on Napoleon. Although the size of a reference book, I found it highly readable. Actually, could not put it down. A must read for any fanatic of the First Empire.
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.
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.
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.

Will Davies
Mar 31, 2008 Will Davies rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Ralph Davis
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.
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.
A very detailed interesting read. I found this book very readable and enjoyable, My one criticism is that there could have been more figures as it was often difficult to visualise the movements of the armies when one isn't familiar with local towns.
Nov 16, 2010 Laginestra added it
Shelves: historia
Puerile appassionarsi alle battaglie dell'Empereur? Alle manovre dei marescialli? Alle marce della Grand Armée? Leggetevi di Austerliz, aspettate anche voi che il sole sorga a sciogliere la nebbia. Questo libro è una Bibbia, una voragine.
Walt O'Hara
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.
Read about 20 years ago and is still the definitive history of the Napoleonic wars. Only ever seen in hardback so will have to get into weight training before re-reading.
Outstanding review of Napoleon's campaigns. A must have if you are interested in the subject. It can be a bit difficult to wade through, but well worth it in the end.
This hefty brick of a book is a classic... It's still an essential resource for anyone interested in seriously exploring the campaigns & battles of Napoleon.
The best one-volume account of Napoleon's military campaigns in English. Proves convincingly that the Corsican may be the greatest commander in history.
Probably the best single-volume work on Napoleon's generalship every written. I think I've read this book 4 or 5 times over the last twenty years.
This is the one book I would want on a deserted island. Best single book about the Napoleonic era ever.
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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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