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Blundering to Glory: Napoleon's Military Campaigns
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Blundering to Glory: Napoleon's Military Campaigns

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  96 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Renowned for its accuracy, brevity, and readability, this book has long been the gold standard of concise histories of the Napoleonic Wars. Now in an updated and revised edition, it is unique in its portrayal of one of the world's great generals as a scrambler who never had a plan, strategic or tactical, that did not break down or change of necessity in the field. Distingu ...more
Hardcover, 269 pages
Published June 8th 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published 1987)
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Julian Cribb
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blundering to Glory is a short, enjoyable revision of Napoleon's campaigns and abilities as a military leader, accentuating the role that pure luck and happenstance played in so many of his victories. From Desaix arriving in the nick of time to rescue him from his error at Marengo, to his almost disastrous misreading of Australian intentions at Ulm, to Russian errors at Austerlitz, to Davout's superb victory at Auerstadt, to the Spanish ulcer and the ultimate of all blunders, the winter campaign ...more
'Aussie Rick'
Nov 28, 2009 rated it liked it



This was a very interesting and refreshing account of Napoleon the general and his military campaigns. Overall it offers a concise and interesting look at Napoleon's campaigns and battles and shows that he was a master of adapting to battlefield conditions.

The author states from the beginning that his book is not an in-depth account and anaylsis of Napoleon's military strategy and he does nothing that detracts from Napoleon's legend/myth. He argues that on a number of occassions Napoleon blunder
...more
Justin
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
An interesting, though flawed, analysis of Bonaparte's generalship. For an alternate (and more plausible) explanation of the phenomena examined in this book, see Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton by Martin Van Creveld, for starters. Let it be reiterated as well that the greatest generals--Alexander, Caesar, Belisarius, Napoleon--recognized and counted on "blundering" to ensue when hostilities commenced, and gambled accordingly. The first casualty of every battle is the Plan.
Brian
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How did Napoleon succeed in battle? According to Connelly it was by having detailed and perfect plans that fell apart leaving Napoleon forced toimprovise. Napoleon's ability to improvise on the battlefield were the true ways he won. His enemies expected him to follow his plans which were easy to discern and when he did not he won battles. This provides excellent accounts of various battles and does so without becoming bogged down in details. I highly recommend it for those starting out with Napo ...more
Iain
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very readable, concise guide to the Napoleonic wars and napoleon as a general. I'd give the book a 5 but it petered out a bit in the final chapters and as is the case with most histories, spend an inordinate amount of time on the battle of Waterloo. Still it's a very good guide that includes more critical commentary of Napoleon and his techniques than most works. Kudos to having plenty of maps which, while no stellar, do illustrate the actions. special mention for the fact that fvirtually ever ...more
Sean Chick
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best one volume history of Napoleon's campaigns and supported by an excellent thesis. My only gripes are with the dry language, shoddy maps, and a few strange observations, such as his assertion that Jerome Bonaparte was a solid commander.
Les Wolf
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An outstanding history written in a clear, concise style. An engaging and easy-to-follow narrative that answered many of my questions about Napoleon as Emperor and Commander-in-Chief.
Jonathan Whitmore
Excellent -- I liked the last sentence: "Napoleon was probably the greatest commander of all time, but his genius lay in scrambling, not in carrying out a preconceived plan."
Phillip Tigue
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting thesis. Worth reading.
Jim Blessing
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This seems like a good book to read to get oversights of Napoleon's various battles. Unfortunately, that part of the book was very difficult for me to follow probably due to very limited maps
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Owen Connelly was an American historian who specialized in military history, especially the Napoleonic wars. After earning his doctorate at the University of North Carolina, he taught at the University of South Carolina, where he retired as Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus and Caroline McKissick Dial Professor of History Emeritus.
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