1812: Napoleon's Russian Campaign

Richard Riehn, Author McGraw-Hill Companies $24.95 (525p) ISBN 978-0-07-052731-7
This major study of one of history's most decisive military campaigns richly details the invasion of Russia in June 1812 by Napoleon's army of 600,000. Although the emperor expected to blitz the Tsar's forces into rapid surrender, five months later he was fortunate to escape with a tattered remnant of 8000 followed by some 40,000 starving stragglers. Riehn, a translator and freelance writer on military topics, analyzes Napoleon's miscalculation of Russian resources and resolve, his poorly conceived logistics and uncharacteristic indecisiveness at Smolensk and Borodino where he missed his two chances to destroy the enemy. Included is a review of French and Russian military establishments of the day, showing how the two forces were mobilized, trained and deployed in the field. Riehn reveals how severe winter conditions during the last part of the retreat enabled Napoleon to claim that ``only God and the elements'' had proved stronger than his Grand Army. Napoleon actually came away from the 1812 catastrophe with his reputation enhanced. Recommended for military student and general reader alike. Military Book Club selection. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/30/1990
Release date: 02/01/1990
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