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True, first-hand accounts of combat and soldiering from the men who fought for Napoleon Bonparte and the First French Empire: “Fascinating stuff” (Stuart Asquith, author of Military Modelling).
The French side of the Napoleonic Wars is often presented from a strategic point of view, or in terms of military organization and battlefield tactics, or through officers’ memoirs. Fighting for Napoleon:French Soldiers’ Letters, 1799–1815, based on more than sixteen hundred letters written by French soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, shares the perspectives and experiences of the lowest, ordinary ranks of the army who fought on the frontlines.
Authors Bernard Wilkin and René Wilkin provide an informative read of common soldiers’ lives for military and cultural historians as well as a fascinating counterpoint to the memoirs of Cpt. Jean-Roch Coignet, Col. Marcellin de Marbot, or Sgt. Adrien Bourgogne.
“A superb guide to the experience and motivation of military service that is based on a wide trawl of relevant letters . . . A first-rate work that is of much wider significance.” —Professor Jeremy Black, author of The Battle of Waterloo
“Provides the reader with a good insight into the lives of ordinary French of the Napoleonic Wars . . . Direct accounts of campaigns and battle, recruitment and training, barrack life, the experience of captivity and being wounded are all here, based on letters written most by uneducated men to their immediate family . . . This really is fascinating stuff, and surely a ‘must’ for students of Napoleonic warfare.” —Stuart Asquith, author of Military Modelling: Guide to Solo Wargaming