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Best Books on the Russian Campaign of 1812?

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  • Best Books on the Russian Campaign of 1812?

    I hear Lieven's book is a must. Any others that are worth reading? Specifically regarding how Russia contributed to Napoleon's eventual defeat?
    A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

  • #2
    Caulaincourt's Memoirs, of course; also called With Napoleon in Russia
    Will no one tell me what she sings?--
    Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
    For old, unhappy, far-off things,
    And battles long ago:
    -William Wordsworth, "The Solitary Reaper"

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    • #3
      The only book I have read in English about the Russian side is

      1812: Russia's Patriotic War by Laurence Spring (2009)

      I found it very good, if a bit short.
      CANNON, n.
      An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.

      The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce

      http://guerraenucrania.wordpress.com/

      http://pinturasdeguerra.tumblr.com/

      http://pinturasdeguerra-mar.tumblr.com/

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      • #4
        D-25 just seen this post by U I missed it but anyway Caulaincourt's Memoirs
        for sure... also U might try Moscow 1812 by Adam Zamoyski really is a must,
        Carl von Clauswitz - The Campaign of 1812 in Russia and anything by
        Alexander Mikaberidze - as he has several:The Battle of the Berezina,
        The Battle of Borodino and last but not least Adam Palmer - Napoleon in Russian

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        • #5
          ...Moscow 1812 by Adam Zamoyski really is a must,...


          Yup. That's been my recommendation in the past.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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          • #6
            The above books mentioned by others as well as Paul Austin Brittons trilogy though it is only from the French side.

            Would also reccommend Christopher Duffy's Borodino

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            • #7
              Or if you like it first hand: Philippe-Paul Ségur
              Lambert of Montaigu - Crusader.

              Bolgios - Mercenary Game.

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              • #8
                And another excellent choice is by de Segur's nemesis, Gaspard Gourgaud, which was written in response to de Segur's 'remembering with advantages.'

                Sincerely,
                M
                We are not now that strength which in old days
                Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

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                • #9
                  The books of Lieven and Zamoyski are very interesting, however Lieven's book may be too pro-Russia (although he tried to cover up this!) and Zamoyski's has many small mistakes (for example he said Napoleon was only 1.54m height, he also confused several numbered designation of both sides).

                  For military history, Lieven's is better than Zamoyski's. However, the most recommendable books which cover Russian side in English, I believed, are from Alexander Mikaberidze and the Zhmodikov brothers.

                  Besides Mikaberidze‘s The Battle of the Berezina, The Battle of Borodino, he also writes Russian Eyewitness Accounts of the Campaign of 1812 (a compilation of many Russian memoirs, give some new light in Smolensk and Valutino, but after the burning of Moscow, the book ends quickly, for example, almost nothing about Maloyaroslavets, however, it's good enough to be a definitely must-have!). Plus: Mikaberidze has translated four interesting Russian memoirs
                  Pavel Pushin's Diary Of The 1812-1814 Campaigns (An Guard Infantry captain's diligence diary) Pushin is also spelled as Pushchin.
                  Ilya Radozhitskii's Campaign Memoirs (A colorful memoir of an artillery officer, however only covered 1812, the next half of 1813-14 may be published next year)
                  Alexey Yermolov's Memoirs (a reprint of his former Czar's General)
                  Moritz Von Kotzebue's Memoir (a reprint of a Russian POW's memoir)

                  Zhmodikov brothers' Tactics of the Russian Army in the Napoleonic Wars is the must-have to understand Russian tactics, however, as I know, only Nafzgier Collection has plenty stocks.

                  Regards,
                  Robert
                  Last edited by jsrgmeng; 07 Nov 12, 10:07. Reason: Spell

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                  • #10
                    Would also recommend George Nafziger "Napoleon'sd Invasion of Russia", Edward Foord "Napoleon's Russian campaign of 1812", Esposito & Elting "A Military History & Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars"

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                    • #11
                      The Zhmodikov's work is indispensable.

                      Sincerely,
                      M
                      We are not now that strength which in old days
                      Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
                      Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
                      To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Prinz Essling View Post
                        Would also recommend George Nafziger "Napoleon'sd Invasion of Russia", Edward Foord "Napoleon's Russian campaign of 1812", Esposito & Elting "A Military History & Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars"
                        Elting's Altas is an essential reference for anyone who is interested in Napoleonic warfare. And Foord's book is really good. Nafzgier's book has a lot of useful information, especially OOBs, but it also contains many, many confused points.

                        Regards,
                        Robert

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by History fan View Post
                          The above books mentioned by others as well as Paul Austin Brittons trilogy though it is only from the French side.

                          Would also reccommend Christopher Duffy's Borodino
                          Yes, both Britton's and Duffy's books would pass the test of time.
                          Although Duffy's book is named with Borodino, it in fact covers the whole period of 1812 Russian Campaign. I think it is a good start point for 1812, since Duffy's elegant writing style makes the reading easy. In reading Britton's trilogy, one should often check the time and place of events, as Britton sometimes move events to another time or place. (For example, in 1812 The March on Moscow P195, he describes the battle on August 17th with Faber du Faur's account of August 18th)
                          PS: Antony Brett-James's 1812: Eyewitness Accounts of Napoleon's Defeat in Russia is also worthy reading.

                          Regards,
                          Robert

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                          • #14
                            Strange that no one recomended Russian authors although they of course studied this matter more than anyone else.

                            From eyewitnesses accounts I would recomend "Memoirs of sgt.Bourgogne". IMO these are one of the best if you`re looking for inside view from soldier and not from Napoleon`s officiers. Especially it was interesting to read about effect of Napoleon on soldiers that suffered so much (episode at Berezina when soldiers were looking for food for Emperor although lot of them were duying because hunger).

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ulrih View Post
                              Strange that no one recomended Russian authors although they of course studied this matter more than anyone else.

                              From eyewitnesses accounts I would recomend "Memoirs of sgt.Bourgogne". IMO these are one of the best if you`re looking for inside view from soldier and not from Napoleon`s officiers. Especially it was interesting to read about effect of Napoleon on soldiers that suffered so much (episode at Berezina when soldiers were looking for food for Emperor although lot of them were duying because hunger).
                              Of course Russian authors studied this matter more than anyone else, however, most of their works have not been translated into English yet. (although a lot of them have been translated into French or German!)
                              Personally, I found the works of Bogdanovich (his works have German edition where he was called as Bogdanowitsch) and Popov (I recently got his detailed study of Smolensk in Russian) are very helpful. Would you recommend someone else?

                              Regards,
                              Robert
                              Last edited by jsrgmeng; 09 Nov 12, 12:31.

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