Blundering to Glory: Napoleon's Military Campaigns

Front Cover
Rowman & Littlefield, 2006 - History - 269 pages
1 Review
Renowned for its accuracy, brevity, and readability, this book has long been the gold standard of concise histories of the Napoleonic Wars. Now in an updated and revised edition, it is unique in its portrayal of one of the world's great generals as a scrambler who never had a plan, strategic or tactical, that did not break down or change of necessity in the field. Distinguished historian Owen Connelly argues that Napoleon was the master of the broken play, so confident of his ability to improvise, cover his own mistakes, and capitalize on those of the enemy that he repeatedly plunged his armies into uncertain, seemingly desperate situations, only to emerge victorious as he "blundered" to glory. Beginning with a sketch of Napoleon's early life, the book progresses to his command of artillery at Toulon and the "whiff of grapeshot" in Paris that netted him control of the Army of Italy, where his incredible performance catapulted him to fame. The author vividly traces Napoleon's campaigns as a general of the French Revolution and emperor of the French, knowledgeably analyzing each battle's successes and failures. The author depicts Napoleon's "art of war" as a system of engaging the enemy, waiting for him to make a mistake, improvising a plan on the spot-and winning. Far from detracting from Bonaparte's reputation, his blunders rather made him a great general, a "natural" who depended on his intuition and ability to read battlefields and his enemy to win. Exploring this neglected aspect of Napoleon's battlefield genius, Connelly at the same time offers stirring and complete accounts of all the Napoleonic campaigns.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Big_Bang_Gorilla - LibraryThing

As reflected in the title, the author states that his aim is to debunk the Emperor's reputation as a genius and attribute his military success to luck. The book is quite a bit less provocative than ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

THE GREAT KING NAPOLEON'S Story

Contents

YOUNG BONAPARTE Character Education and Early Triumphs
1
THE SCRAMBLER EMERGES The First Italian Campaign 17961797
19
FLIRTING WITH OBLIVION Egypt 17981799
47
OVER THE ALPS The Second Italian Campaign 1800
61
THE SCRAMBLER ON THE DANUBE The UlmAusterlitz Campaign 1805
75
OVERKILL IN THE EAST The JenaAuerstädtFriedland Campaign 18061807
91
THE AFFAIR OF SPAIN The Peninsular War 18081813
117
THE WAGRAM CAMPAIGN The Austrian War 1809
135
COMPROMISES WITH THE OLD ORDER European Empire 18091812
155
HEAT ICE SNOW AND DISASTER The Russian Campaign 1812
163
THE KILL From Lutzen to Elba 18131814
191
THE GLORIOUS IRRELEVANCE The Waterloo Campaign 1815
211
EPILOGUE
231
BIBLIOGRAPHY
235
INDEX
255
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2006)

Owen Connelly is McKissick Dial Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of On War and Leadership, Napoleon's Satellite Kingdoms, and The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era. He is a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton University and past president of the Society for French Historical Studies. He served as an infantry officer in the Korean War and as an instructor at the U.S. Army Florida Ranger Camp.

Bibliographic information