NAPOLEON I , LENTZ Thierry (ed.),
Correspondance générale de Napoléon Bonaparte : Tome 12 - La campagne de Russie 1812 (in French)
Volume twelve of the General Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte covers the single tragic year of 1812. As Napoleon I crossed into Russia territory in June 1812, no-one envisaged anything but success for the Russian campaign. Yet as they went deeper into Russia - with governing the empire becoming harder and harder by the mile - Napoleon and his multinational but ultimately divided army found their campaign bogged down by the Russian tactics and resolve. In December, the once imperious Grande Armée finally returned home, decimated and with its morale in ruins. The defeat, a turning point in European history, sent shockwaves across the continent. Napoleon I would subsequently lose his army and his empire, whilst Alexander I would go on to become the hero of Russia's Patriotic War and, two years later, play a deciding role in the discussions at the Congress of Vienna.
The Fondation Napoléon is most grateful to Patrick de Pauw for his assistance in the completion of this volume.
The Fondation Napoléon is supported in this unprecendented adventure of historic proportions by the Archives de France, the Fondation La Poste and more than one hundred project volunteers.
- Preface, by Marie Pierre Rey, Professor at the Université Paris I, Director of the CRHS
- Introduction, by Thierry Lentz, Director of the Fondation Napoléon
- Correspondence: 2 551 annotated letters
- List of letters in private collections: contents unknown
-- The Grande Armée of 1812, Organisation at the start of the campaign, by F. Houdecek
-- Organisation of the Russian army (1810-1812), by V. Bezotosnyi
-- Coded correspondence: the letters to Maret in 1812
-- Places mentioned in the correspondence and their modern-day equivalents
-- Detailed timeline, by I. Delage
-- Table of measures and currencies
----- Russian campaign (23 June - 16 August)
----- Russian campaign - advance on Moscow (mid-August - October 1812)
----- The Battle of Borodino (7 September 1812)
----- The city of Moscow (September 1812)
----- Russian campaign - the retreat (October - December 1812)
----- Military operations in Spain (January - November 1812)
To celebrate the release, Napoleon.org has published a number of translated documents:
- Marie-Pierre Rey's preface
- A project update from François Houdecek, project manager for the publication of the General Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte
Place and publisher: Paris: Fayard/Fondation Napoléon
Date of publication: 2012
Number of pages: 1530
This week’s book(s):
Description: First published by George Philip in 1987, this book is published in 2015 with new material as part of the introduction.
From the publisher's:
"This book offers a fresh view of the most famous man in history. It shows him as a monarch rather than a genius on the battlefield. Although Napoleon arose through the events of the Revolution, he was primarily interested in establishing a dynasty to rank with the Bourbons or the Habsburgs, and in extending his influence throughout Europe.
Philip Mansel's book shows the ruthlessness with which Napoleon sought to achieve these ends. His creation of a court was a calculated act, to enhance his power and prestige. His policy of territorial expansionism was pursued with an arrogance and inhumanity which turned all Europe against him. His brothers and sisters were given thrones and courts in Italy, Spain, Holland and Westphalia, where they alienated most of their subjects.
This account is based on the hitherto unpublished papers of several of Napoleon's courtiers. This contemporary material provides fascinating insights into the careers and characters of those closest to the Emperor, including Duroc, the Emperor's only friend, his second wife, the Empress Marie Louise, Fontaine, his architect, who helped spread the Empire style throughout Europe, and his brother Joseph, one of the few people who had the courage to tell Napoleon when he was wrong.
The Eagle in Splendour shows that personal genius is not enough to establish a monarchy. The heart of the Napoleonic court was a void, because the Emperor was not loved and his regime lacked credibility. The Emperor's domination of Europe was an illusion, killed, like so many of his soldiers, in the Russian snow. As Malraux said to De Gaulle, Napoleon had ‘a very great mind and a rather small soul'."
Place and publisher: London, I.B.Tauris
Date of publication: 2015
Number of pages: 256
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