Summer reading list 2021

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A sprinkling of new books on the Napoleonic era to while away the summer days. We’ve also included links to some historic books now available online for free, including some curiosities. Take a look at our digital library for more freebies.

And if you read French, there’s a huge list available here!

And don’t forget our previous selections for more choice: Summer Selection 2020Christmas Selection 2019, Christmas Selection 2018Summer Reading List 2018, Christmas 2017Summer Reading list 2017Christmas 2016Summer Selection 2016, Christmas 2015, Summer  2015.

Summer reading list 2021
photograph by Lady Clementina Hawarden of her daughter Clementina in 1860 ©BNPS


SCURR Ruth, Napoleon: A Life in Gardens and Shadows (2021)


PAYNE, Reider, War and Diplomacy in the Napoleonic Era: Sir Charles Stewart, Castlereagh and the Balance of Power in Europe 

GALLAHER John G., The Iron Marshal: A Biography of Louis N. Davout (2018 reprint)

BOND Andrew, COWIN Franck, LAMBERT Andrew, Favourite of Fortune: Captain John Quilliam, Trafalgar Hero (2021)

Europe in the Age of the Two Napoleons

DE GRAAF Beatrice, Fighting Terror after Napoleon: How Europe Became Secure after 1815 (2020)

TODD David, A Velvet Empire: French Informal Imperialism in the Nineteenth Century

MACCANNELL Daniel, Coastal Defences of the British Empire in the Revolutionary & Napoleonic Eras (2021)

VAN DER BURG Martijn, Napoleonic Governance in the Netherlands and Northwest Germany: Conquest, Incorporation, and Integration (2021)

NESTER William, Britain’s Rise to Global Superpower in the Age of Napoleon (2020)

The arts in the age of Napoleon

SIVITER, Clare, Tragedy and Nation in the Age of Napoleon (2020)

HOCHEL Marian, PAVLIKOVA Marta, Zrcadlo moci. Pilíře moci Napoleona Bonaparta ve vizuálním umění (The Mirror of Power: Pillars of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Power in Visual Arts), book in Slovak

Eyewitness accounts

HUGHES Kristine, Waterloo Witnesses: Military and Civilian Accounts of the 1815 Campaign (2021)


BURNHAM Robert, Wellington’s Light Division in the Peninsular War: The Formation, Campaigns & Battles of Wellington’s Famous Fighting Force, 1810 (2020)

HAYTHORNTHWAITE Philip J., Waterloo Armies: The Men, Organization and Tactics (2021 reprint of 2007 book)

WILSON David A, The Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars 1801-1814. Vol 1: High Command, Line and Light Infantry (2020)

WILSON David A, The Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars 1801-1814, Organisation, Uniforms and Equipment: Volume 2: Cavalry and Artillery (2021)

GREENTREE David, HOOK Adam (illustrator), British Rifleman vs French Skirmisher: Peninsular War and Waterloo 1808-1815

ACERBI Enrico, MOLNAR Andras K, MUGNAI Bruno (illustrator), Austrian Cavalry of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, 1792-1815

SAUNDERS Tim, YUILL Rob, The Light Division in the Peninsular War, 1811–1814 (2020)

DAWSON Anthony L., Real War Horses, The Experience of the British Cavalry 1814 – 1914 (2020, several formats)

Exhibition catalogues

Despite being in a foreign language, these publications are really mini exhibitions in their own right, including some exceptional works and artefacts, guaranteed to transport you to another time and another place…

Napoleone 1821. La morte di Bonaparte: scenari, reazioni, conseguenze nel ducato di parma[Bonaparte’s death: scenarios, reactions, consequences in the Duchy of Parma] (2121)

Napoléon n’est plus [Napoleon is no more] (2121)

Dessiner pour Napoléon: Trésors de la secrétairerie d’État impériale [Drawing for Napoleon. The Masterpieces of the imperial State Secretariat] (2121)


SPENCER, Jonathan, Napoleon’s Run: An epic naval adventure of espionage and action (2020)

SPENCER, Jonathan, Lords of the Nile. An epic Napoleonic adventure of invasion and espionage (2021)

A selection of digitised historic books

FISHER, H. A. L. (Herbert Albert Laurens), Napoleon (1913)

STEARNS Frank Preston, Napoleon and Machiavelli; two essays in political science (1903)

GOURGAUD, Gaspard, Baron, A gentleman of Philadelphia (translator), Napoleon and the grand army in Russia (1825)

ABBOTT, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot), Napoleon at St. Helena; or, Interesting anecdotes and remarkable conversations of the emperor during the five and a half years of his captivity. Collected from the memorials of Las Casas, O’Meara, Montholon, Antommarchi, and others (1855)

PETRE, F. Loraine (Francis Loraine), Napoleon at bay 1814 with maps and plans (1914)

ANONYMOUS, Napoleon’s Oraculum and dream book. Containing the great oracle of human destiny (1884)

REED, Helen Leah, Napoleon’s young neighbor (1907)

PRADT, M. de (Dominique Georges Frédéric), Narrative of an embassy to Warsaw and Wilna, with personal attendance on the emperor Napoleon, during the disastrous campaign in Russia, and the retreat from Moscow (1816)


Not a book but  …

Hougoumont farm model





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