Cover image for Napoleon's men : the soldiers of the revolution and empire
Napoleon's men : the soldiers of the revolution and empire
Forrest, Alan I.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Hambledon and London, [2002]

Physical Description:
xix, 248 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, 1 portrait ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library DC226.5 .F677 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Napoleon's soldiers marched across Europe from Lisbon to Moscow, and from Germany to Dalmatia. Many of the men, mostly conscripted by ballot, had never before been beyond their native village. What did they make of their extraordinary experiences, fighting battles thousands of miles from home, foraging for provisions or garrisoning towns in hostile countries? What was it like to be a soldier in the revolutionary and imperial armies?

Author Notes

Alan Forrest is Professor of History at the University of York.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Forrest (Univ. of York) has surveyed the correspondence of French Revolutionary and Napoleonic soldiers in departmental archives and a collection of letters maintained at the Ministry of War to produce a necessarily eclectic but interesting portrait of the often nameless and faceless millions who fought in the massive, quarter-century long struggles of the French Revolution and Napoleon (1792-1815). The author examines such issues as the soldiers' patriotism, their experience of combat, and their relations with family and home. This sampling of soldier opinion reinforces conclusions that have become near universal: these were ordinary men, snatched from their homes by the military, who valued the experience but who remained conscripted civilians longing to go home; military life was indeed the odd mixture of long periods of tedium and hardship interspersed with episodes of horror and disgust; and the real reason these men fought (so long and so well) was because of comradeship, not for either ideology or plunder. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and specialists. G. P. Cox Gordon College

Table of Contents

1 The Armies of the Revolution and Empire
2 The Soldiers and their Writings
3 Official Representation of War
4 The Voice of Patriotism
5 From Valmy to Moscow
6 Everyday Life in the Armies
7 The Lure of Family and Farm
8 From One War to Another

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