View Full Version : Recommend me some nonfiction about the Napoleonic era

04-01-2005, 02:07 AM
The title kind of says it all. Lately, I've found myself reading quite a bit of fiction set in the time of Napoleon - a LOT of it, for some reason. I have a pretty good idea of the sequence of events between France and England from the time of the French Revolution and the death of Napoleon, but I'd really like to get more into it.

If anyone could recommend me a good, scholarly, but also well-written book or two on this time period in Europe, I'd be grateful. Not only just Napoleon's time, but going back to the French Revolution would be great. I'm sure a lot has been written, but it's a bit daunting to try and figure out what's worth reading and what isn't.

Thanks in advance!

04-01-2005, 01:41 PM
Pick up Claude Manceron's books, spec. Twilight of the Old Order. Incredibly good non-fiction that follows the lives of prominent people during the period immediately prior to the French Revolution, including Marie Antoinette, the Marquis de Sade, Mirabeau, Beaumarchais, and a very young Napoleon Bonaparte.

04-01-2005, 07:14 PM
Rifles: Six Years To Waterloo With England's Legendary Sharpshooters (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0802714374/ref=olp_product_details/103-7574289-0965455?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance) by Mark Urban - great coverage of the Penninsular War and Waterloo

Napoleon's Russian Campaign (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0837184436/103-7574289-0965455?v=glance) by Count Phillipe-Paul de Segur - will make you wonder (even more) what the hell Hitler was thinking.

04-01-2005, 08:06 PM
The Campaigns of Napoleon (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0025236601/qid=1112407542/sr=8-1/ref=pd_ka_1/002-1174814-4253664?v=glance&s=books&n=507846) by David Chandler is a good read.

04-01-2005, 10:15 PM
I like Will Durant's The Age of Napoleon.

The Scrivener
04-01-2005, 11:13 PM
The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (1984) by Robert Darnton. This is a collection of essays examining themes of intellectual/cultural interest of French society of the period, greatly influenced by the scholarly methods of the great cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Here's the chapter headings:

"Peasants Tell Tales: The Meaning of Mother Goose"
"Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-Severin"
"A Bourgeois Puts His World In Order: The City as a Text"
"A Police Inspector Sorts His Files: The Anatomy of the Republic of Letters"
"Philosophers Trim the Tree of Knowledge: The Epistomological Strategy of the Encyclopedie"
"Readers Respond to Rousseau: The Fabrication of Romantic Sensitivity"

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