Monday, June 25, 2007

Swords Around a Throne (Book #58)

Since starting my new job, I've become a bus commuter. To feel like I'm making good use of my time, I limit my commute and lunch reading to research books. That's probably an hour a day or a little more, and it still took me nearly three weeks to get through Swords Around a Throne: Napoleon's Grande Armee (John R. Elting, 1988). But that's not to say it's a dull read. It's simply long and thorough, with chapters on every branch of the service, the marshals, the allies, the enemies, combat medicine, women and the army, etc. And it's fascinating because Elting does a great job enlivening facts with anecdotes. For better or worse, I have a much stronger sense of the French perspective on the era. I still don't like Napoleon very much, but I admire a lot of his people (Eugene de Beauharnais and Marshal Lefebvre are two of my favorites), and have a much greater understanding of why so many rushed back to his banner for the Hundred Days. (The Bourbons? Idiots.)

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