Thursday, 29 May 2014
"How Far From Austerlitz?" by Alistair Horne
I finished this book a few days ago. 400 pages of very readable strategic history. Not a huge amount of detail - 10 years of Napoleon's life would fill several dozen volumes - but great as an easy read refresher. Doubly good as I bought the book second or maybe third hand at Vapnartak last year for a fiver.
There are four historians that I have admired above the others. Alistair Horne, AJP Taylor, Christopher Duffy and Richard Holmes. Alistair Horne is the man most responsible for my interest in French military history. In the early seventies I read his account of Verdun 1916 "The Price of Glory". I finished it believing the French Army showed great tenacity, courage and fortitude. That was not what we were told about the French - from the Germans, yes that is to be expected - but not from the French. When I had read "To Lose A Battle - France 1940" I was more puzzled, yes the Allies were defeated in Northern France, but it wasn't just the Brits who had fought hard, the French and the Belgians did as well.
Nothing so ground breaking in this book, but I enjoyed it.