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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Saturday 8 October 2011

Wars against Napoleon

The Wars Against Napoleon: Debunking the Myth of the Napoleonic Wars

This is a book for the Napoleon buff. If you think Napoleon has been harshly treated by history you will love this book. The sub title is "Debunking the Myth of the Napoleonic Wars". The authors, Michel Franceschi and Ben Weider take on the role of historical spin doctors for the great man.

They take the reader through each stage of the Napoleonic wars to show that Napoleon was a builder in love with peace and an enemy of war. His strategy was to build defensive alliances to protect France and each conflict was forced upon him. The usual culprit was Perfidious Albion.

There is no doubt that, in English speaking history at least, insufficient credit is given to the positive aspects of Napoleon's rule. The laws, infrastructure, education and economy of France were revolutionised by Napoleon and his legacy can still be seen in France today. The case for Napoleon the peacemaker is less convincing. However, he certainly wasn't the only villain in Europe and the reactionary regimes certainly conspired in most conflicts.

So on balance the authors make a good case for Napoleon, even if they stretch their case on a few occasions. A good balancing work.

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