The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It
  • The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It
  • The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It

The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It

by David A. Bell
     
 

The twentieth century is usually seen as “the century of total war,” but as the historian David Bell argues in this landmark work, the phenomenon actually began much earlier, in the age of Napoleon. Bell takes us from campaigns of “extermination” in the blood-soaked fields of western France to savage street fighting in ruined Spanish cities

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Overview

The twentieth century is usually seen as “the century of total war,” but as the historian David Bell argues in this landmark work, the phenomenon actually began much earlier, in the age of Napoleon. Bell takes us from campaigns of “extermination” in the blood-soaked fields of western France to savage street fighting in ruined Spanish cities to central European battlefields where tens of thousands died in a single day. Between 1792 and 1815, Europe plunged into an abyss of destruction, and our modern attitudes toward war were born. Ever since, the dream of perpetual peace and the nightmare of total war have been bound tightly together in the Western world—where “wars of liberation,” such as the one in Iraq, can degenerate into gruesome guerrilla conflict.

With a historian’s keen insight and a journalist’s flair for detail, Bell exposes the surprising parallels between Napoleon’s day and our own in a book that is as timely and important as it is unforgettable.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618919819
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
01/16/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
439,469
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.63(h) x 1.05(d)

Table of Contents

Maps and Illustrations viii Acknowledgements ix

Introduction 1 1. Officers, Gentlemen, and Poets 21 2. Conscience, Commerce, and History 52 3. Declaring Peace; Declaring War 84 4. The Last Crusade 120 5. The Exterminating Angels 154 6. The Lure of the Eagle 186 7. Days of Glory 223 8. War’s Red Altar 263 Epilogue 302

Notes 321 Bibliography 360 Index 397

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