A grunt’s-eye report from the battlefield in the spirit of The Red Badge of Courage and All Quiet on the Western Front—the only known account by a common soldier of the campaigns of Napoleon’s Grand Army between 1806 and 1813. When eighteen-year-old German stonemason Jakob Walter was conscripted into the Grand Army of Napoleon, he had no idea of the trials that lay ahead. The long, grueling marches in Prussia and Poland sacrificed countless men to Bonaparte’s grand designs. And the disastrous Russian campaign tested human endurance on an epic scale. Demoralized by defeat in a war few supported or understood, deprived of ammunition and leadership, driven past reason by starvation and bitter cold, men often turned on one another, killing fellow soldiers for bread or an able horse. Though there are numerous surviving accounts of the Napoleonic Wars written by officers, Walter’s is the only known memoir by a draftee, and as such is a unique and fascinating document—a compelling chronicle of a young soldier’s loss of innocence as well as an eloquent and moving portrait of the profound effects of war on the men who fight it. Professor Marc Raeff has added an Introduction to the memoirs as well as six letters home from the Russian front, previously unpublished in English, from German conscripts who served concurrently with Walter. The volume is illustrated with engravings and maps, contemporary with the manuscript, from the Russian/Soviet and East European collections of the New York Public Library. Honest, heartfelt, deeply personal yet objective, The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier is more than an informative and absorbing historical document—it is a timeless and unforgettable account of the horrors of war.
In this work Alan Forrest brings together some of the recent research on the Revolutionary army that has been undertaken on both sides of the Atlantic by younger historians, many of whom look to the influential work of Braudel for a model. Forrest places the armies of the Revolution in a broader social and political context by presenting the effects of war and militarization on French society and government in the Revolutionary period. Revolutionary idealists thought of the French soldier as a willing volunteer sacrificing himself for the principles of the Revolution; Forrest examines the convergence of these ideals with the ordinary, and often dreadful, experience of protracted warfare that the soldier endured.
This is a wide-ranging and comprehensive survey of warfare from the outbreak of the American War of Independence to the British conquest of Egypt. Drawing on both primary and secondary sources this book offers an unrivalled account of civil and international conflicts involving Western powers, integrating both naval and land warfare. This book covers military capability as well as conflict, social and political contexts as well as weaponry, tactics and strategy. As well as examining such major conflicts as the Napoleonic Wars, the Crimean War, the American Civil War and the Wars of German Unification, this book redresses the imbalance of previous treatments by examining other important conflicts, for example, those in Latin America, as well as insurgency and counter-insurgency in Europe. This book's global perspective provides for a more reliable assessment of what constitutes military capability. In so doing, the author challenges the technological determinism and linear conceptions of developments in military science that continue to characterise much of military history. Instead the author reveals a much more complex dynamic, indeed going so far as to question the idea of 'modernity' itself. Bold in scope, and cutting-edge in its interpretations, this book offers much for the student, general reader and professional historian alike.
Armies of the Poor
Author: Mark Traugott
In June 1848, two irregular armies of the urban poor fought a four-day battle in the streets of Paris that decided the fate of the French Second Republic. The Parisian National Workshops and the Parisian Mobile Guard-organizations newly created at the time of the February Revolution-provided the bulk of the June combatants associated with the insurrection and repression, respectively. According to Marx's simple and compelling hypothesis, a nascent French proletariat unsuccessfully attempted to assert its political and social rights against a coalition of the bourgeoisie and lumpenproletariat, represented by the Parisian Mobile Guard. Through a detailed study of archival sources, Mark Traugott challenges this interpretation of these events and proposes an organizational explanation.Research has consistently shown that skilled artisans and not unskilled proletarians stood at the forefront of the revolutionary struggles of the nineteenth century. Traugott compares the social identities of the main participants on opposite sides of the conflict and sorts out the reasons for the political alignments observed. Drawing on work by Charles Tilly and Lynn Lees, Traugott demonstrates that the insurgents were not highly proletarianized workers, but rather members of the highly skilled trades predominant in the Parisian economy. Meanwhile, those who spearheaded the repression were little different in occupational status, though they tended to be significantly younger. Traugott's ""organizational hypothesis"" makes sense of the observed configuration of forces. He accounts for the age differential as a by-product of the recruitment criteria that Mobile Guard volunteers were required to meet. Finally, he explains why class position creates no more than a diffuse political predisposition that remains subject to the influence of situation-specific factors such as organizational affiliations. Armies of the Poor helps clarify our understanding of the dynamic at work in the insurrectiona
By highlighting the experiences of common soldiers and civilians, this volume by Rafe Blaufarb and Claudia Liebeskind presents a broad view of the Napoleonic Wars not found in typical military histories. The introduction recounts the key events of the wars and how they marked a shift in the modern notion of “total war” and provides necessary political and military background on the issues of recruitment and evasion, the military community, combat and its aftermath, the homefront, and demobilization. The rich collection of memoirs, letters, and popular engravings -- from familiar sources such as German infantryman Jakob Walter to an account of a French woman canteen worker -- offers contrasting voices, some offered here in English for the first time. These documents and images explore core civil-military interactions, including foraging, plunder, sexuality, violence, eating, religion, and commerce. Headnotes to the documents, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography provide pedagogical support.
War is Boring
Author: David Axe, Matt Bors
Read David Axe's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community. The war memoir as graphic novel-an utterly unforgettable and highly original look at war in the 21st century. Street battles with spears and arrows in sweltering East Timor. Bone- jarring artillery duels in Afghanistan's mountains. Long patrols on the sandy wastes of southern Iraq. For four years, war was life for David Axe. He was alternately bored out of his mind and completely terrified. It was strangely addictive. As a correspondent for The Washington Times, C-SPAN and BBC Radio, Axe flew from conflict to conflict, reveling in death, danger, and destruction abroad while, back in D.C., his apartment gathered dust, his plants died, and his relationships withered. War reporting was physically, emotionally, and financially draining-and disillusioning. Loosely based on the web comic of the same name, with extensive new material, War Is Boring takes us to Lebanon and Somalia; to arms bazaars across the United States; to Detroit, as David tries to reconnect with his family-and to Chad, as David attempts to bring attention to the Darfur genocide. Watch a Video
Author: David King
Publisher: Broadway Books
Details the 1814 Congress of Vienna, offering portraits of the participants and discussing the political intrigues, illicit affairs, tangled alliances, and bitter rivalries that marked the occasion that transformed the face of nineteenth-century Europe. Reprint.
The Myth of the Goddess
Author: Anne Baring, Jules Cashford
Publisher: Penguin UK
A comprehensive, scholarly accessible study, in which the authors draw upon poetry and mythology, art and literature, archaeology and psychology to show how the myth of the goddess has been lost from our formal Judeo-Christian images of the divine. They explain what happened to the goddess, when, and how she was excluded from western culture, and the implications of this loss.
"In the beginning we were happy. And we were always excessive. So in the beginning we were happy to excess." With these opening lines Sean Wilsey takes us on an exhilarating tour of life in the strangest, wealthiest, and most grandiose of families. Sean's blond-bombshell mother (one of the thinly veiled characters in Armistead Maupin's bestselling Tales of the City) is a 1980s society-page staple, regularly entertaining Black Panthers and movie stars in her marble and glass penthouse, "eight hundred feet in the air above San Francisco; an apartment at the top of a building at the top of a hill: full of light, full of voices, full of windows full of water and bridges and hills." His enigmatic father uses a jet helicopter to drop Sean off at the video arcade and lectures his son on proper hygiene in public restrooms, "You should wash your hands first, before you use the urinal. Not after. Your penis isn't dirty. But your hands are." When Sean, "the kind of child who sings songs to sick flowers," turns nine years old, his father divorces his mother and marries her best friend. Sean's life blows apart. His mother first invites him to commit suicide with her, then has a "vision" of salvation that requires packing her Louis Vuitton luggage and traveling the globe, a retinue of multiracial children in tow. Her goal: peace on earth (and a Nobel Prize). Sean meets Indira Gandhi, Helmut Kohl, Menachem Begin, and the pope, hoping each one might come back to San Francisco and persuade his father to rejoin the family. Instead, Sean is pushed out of San Francisco and sent spiraling through five high schools, till he finally lands at an unorthodox reform school cum "therapeutic community," in Italy. With its multiplicity of settings and kaleidoscopic mix of preoccupations-sex, Russia, jet helicopters, seismic upheaval, boarding schools, Middle Earth, skinheads, home improvement, suicide, skateboarding, Sovietology, public transportation, massage, Christian fundamentalism, dogs, Texas, global thermonuclear war, truth, evil, masturbation, hope, Bethlehem, CT, eventual salvation (abridged list)—Oh the Glory of It All is memoir as bildungsroman as explosion.
Mean Little Deaf Queer
Author: Terry Galloway
Publisher: Beacon Press
Running with Scissors meets The Liar's Club in this edgy and wickedly hilarious memoir about one irrepressible mean, little, deaf queer. When Terry Galloway was born on Hallowe'en, no one knew that an experimental antibiotic given to her mother had wreaked havoc on her fetal nervous system. After her family moved from Berlin, Germany, to Austin, Texas, hers became a deafening, hallucinatory childhood where everything, including her own body, changed for the worse. But those unwelcome changes awoke in this particular child a dark, defiant humor that fueled her lifelong obsession with language, duplicity, and performance.
Adam Zamoyski’s bestselling account of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and his catastrophic retreat from Moscow, events that had a profound effect on European history.
The Napoleonic Empire
Author: Geoffrey Ellis
Publisher: Macmillan International Higher Education
Was Napoleon the 'heir' of the French Revolution, the great consolidator of its reforms, or did he distort and even abandon its principles? What were the aims and effects of Napoleonic rule in France and in conquered Europe more widely? This second edition of The Napoleonic Empire offers a critical reassessment of these central issues and provides a fresh synthesis of the most important research during the past forty years. Beginning with Napoleon's inheritance, Geoffrey Ellis balances the conflicting evidence for change or continuity over the years from the Revolutionary upheaval to the height of the 'Grand Empire'. The new edition: - covers the administrative, military, social and economic aspects of the subject - redefines the whole impact of Napoleonic imperialism in both the short and longer term - offers more extensive coverage of Napoleon's treatment of the annexed lands and subject states of his Empire, as well as of military conscription, desertion, and the role of the Gendarmerie in the war against brigands and military defaulters - provides an expanded discussion of the institutional legacy of Napoleonic rule in France and Europe With an up-dated and more comprehensive bibliography, this thoroughly revised text is an invaluable guide to Napoleon's Europe and is ideal for specialist and general readers alike.
The nineteenth-century French writer examines the development of democratic government in the United States and the state of political and social life
In this companion volume to "Western Warfare, 1775-1882," Jeremy Black takes his analysis of modern warfare into the twentieth century. As before, a distinctive feature of the author's approach is the coverage of both land and naval warfare as well as conflict within the West and between Western and non-Western powers. Beginning with the British conquest of Egypt in 1882, this book goes on to examine the Spanish-American War of 1898, the Boer War and the Balkan conflicts leading to world war in 1914. A revisionist account of the First World War is followed by a discussion of Western expansionism in the period to 1936. Chapters on the interwar years and the Second World War lead on to a discussion of the retreat from empire and the advent of Cold War. The narrative closes with the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 and a discussion of the limitations of Western military technique, doctrine and technology. Throughout, the themes of military change and modernization are brought into sharp focus and the revolutionary characteristics of the machination of war in this period are questioned. Jeremy Black offers a new and challenging interpretation of modern warfare that will be required reading not only for students of military history but for all those interested in the impact of war in the making of the modern world.
Author: Frank Conroy
First published in 1967, Stop-Time was immediately recognized as a masterpiece of modern American autobiography, a brilliant portrayal of one boy's passage from childhood to adolescence and beyond. Here is Frank Conroy's wry, sad, beautiful tale of life on the road; of odd jobs and lost friendships, brutal schools and first loves; of a father's early death and a son's exhilarating escape into manhood.