Blundering to Glory: Napoleon's Military Campaigns / Edition 3

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Overview

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. Distinguished historian Owen Connelly argues that Napoleon was the master of the broken play, so confident of his ability to improvise, cover his own mistakes, and capitalize on those of the enemy that he repeatedly plunged his armies into uncertain, seemingly desperate situations, only to emerge victorious as he "blundered" to glory.

Beginning with a sketch of Napoleon's early life, the book progresses to his command of artillery at Toulon and the "whiff of grapeshot" in Paris that netted him control of the Army of Italy, where his incredible performance catapulted him to fame. The author vividly traces Napoleon's campaigns as a general of the French Revolution and emperor of the French, knowledgeably analyzing each battle's successes and failures. The author depicts Napoleon's "art of war" as a system of engaging the enemy, waiting for him to make a mistake, improvising a plan on the spot-and winning. Far from detracting from Bonaparte's reputation, his blunders rather made him a great general, a "natural" who depended on his intuition and ability to read battlefields and his enemy to win. Exploring this neglected aspect of Napoleon's battlefield genius, Connelly at the same time offers stirring and complete accounts of all the Napoleonic campaigns.

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Editorial Reviews

Military Review
Connelly's summaries of the action are clear and concise; his description of the social and political context in which Napoleon fought is exquisite; his portrayal of the personalities of Napoleon's marshals is lively and insightful; and his portrait of Napoleon's ambition and drive to win is superb.
Journal Of The Society For Army Historical Research
A thoroughly stimulating and enjoyable volume. Connelly examines all the campaigns with exemplary conciseness, and the same is to be said of his treatment of the battles. . . . Whether this book entertains or (occasionally) infuriates, it makes a reader think.
American Historical Review
Praise for the previous edition
Owen Connelly has written a magnificent book….The text moves right along, does not bog down in favorite emperor stories, and offers the most plausible explanation of Napoleon’s many-sided military character that it has been my pleasure to read….Students at all levels…will sit entwined with the fast-moving text….This is a great book. All historians would do well to read it.
Canadian Military History
This is a concise, clear, authoritative account presented in a felicitous literary style. Of the many works on Napoleon's thirty-year career, this is the best brief account.
Journal Of The Royal Artillery
Readers will find this book useful to have in their library. Connelly gently but surely draws the readers into questioning whether or not Napoleon ever had a strategic aim.
CHOICE
Owen Connelly, one of the leading American historians of the French Revolution–Napoleonic Era, has that rare gift of being able to take complex and complicated information and produce a tight, smooth-flowing narrative. What is unique about this study is that it is both scholarly, based upon excellent research with good maps and a fine bibliography, and also written in a language [students] will appreciate and understand. Highly recommended.
Choice
Owen Connelly, one of the leading American historians of the French Revolution–Napoleonic Era, has that rare gift of being able to take complex and complicated information and produce a tight, smooth-flowing narrative. What is unique about this study is that it is both scholarly, based upon excellent research with good maps and a fine bibliography, and also written in a language [students] will appreciate and understand. Highly recommended.
Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research
A thoroughly stimulating and enjoyable volume. Connelly examines all the campaigns with exemplary conciseness, and the same is to be said of his treatment of the battles. . . . Whether this book entertains or (occasionally) infuriates, it makes a reader think.
Journal of the Royal Artillery
Readers will find this book useful to have in their library. Connelly gently but surely draws the readers into questioning whether or not Napoleon ever had a strategic aim.
Booknews
New edition of an account of the Napoleonic campaigns. Connelly (history, U. of South Carolina) shows how Napoleon was the master of improvisation on the battlefield, so confident in his ability to cover his own mistakes and capitalize on those of the enemy that he repeatedly plunged his army into uncertain, seemingly desperate situations, only to emerge victorious. Paper edition (2780-7), $18.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
David Chandler
A thoroughly stimulating and enjoyable volume. Connelly examines all the campaigns with exemplary conciseness, and the same is to be said of his treatment of the battles.... Whether this book entertains or (occasionally) infuriates, it makes a reader think.
Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research
Modern Europe
Students of all levels, as well as the public at large, will sit entwined within the fast moving text
Napoleon Journal
Blundering to Glory is an excellent primer or introduction to Napoleon and his military impact on the era, and it also offers ideas to challenge scholars and students of the period
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742553187
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/2/2006
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Owen Connelly is McKissick Dial Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of On War and Leadership, Napoleon's Satellite Kingdoms, and The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era. He is a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University and past president of the Society for French Historical Studies. He served as an infantry officer in the Korean War and as an instructor at the U.S. Army Florida Ranger Camp.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Young Bonaparte: Character, Education, and Early Triumphs
Chapter 2: The Scrambler Emerges: The First Italian Campaign, 1796–1797
Chapter 3: Flirting with Oblivion: Egypt, 1798–1799
Chapter 4: Over the Alps: The Second Italian Campaign, 1800
Chapter 5: The Scrambler on the Danube: The Ulm-Austerlitz Campaign, 1805
Chapter 6: Overkill in the East: The Jena-Auerstadt-Friedland Campaign, 1806–1807
Chapter 7: The "Affair of Spain": The Peninsular War, 1808–1813
Chapter 8: The Wagram Campaign: The Austrian War, 1809
Chapter 9: The Fattening: Compromises with the Old Order European Empire, 1809–1812
Chapter 10: Heat, Ice, Snow, and Disaster: The Russian Campaign, 1812
Chapter 11: The Kill: From Lutzen to Elba, 1813–1814
Chapter 12: The Glorious Irrelevance: The Waterloo Campaign, 1815
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