Napoleon's Expedition to Russia: The Memoirs of General de Segur

An immediate sensation when it was first published in 1824 under the title History of the Expedition to Russia, Undertaken by the Emperor Napoleon in the Year 1812, this remarkable chronicle offers an at once extraordinarily heroic and profoundly tragic narrative of the campaign that in a space of six months claimed 1,000,000 lives and set in motion the chain of events thaAn immediate sensation when it was first published in 1824 under the title History of the Expedition to Russia, Undertaken by the Emperor Napoleon in the Year 1812, this remarkable chronicle offers an at once extraordinarily heroic and profoundly tragic narrative of the campaign that in a space of six months claimed 1,000,000 lives and set in motion the chain of events that culminated in the fall of France s First Empire In the scores of decades since French General Philippe de Segur s firsthand account appeared in Paris, it has provided historians of the Napoleonic era with an unparalleled primary source for graphically detailed and dramatically related material, as it contains some of the most striking and poignant descriptions of war ever written A member of the imperial staff during the Russian expedition, Segur also renders an intimate portrait of the charismatic and brilliant but hubristic and disastrously fallible Napoleon himself, his imperial eye always on glory as he trudged through gore.
Napoleon s Expedition to Russia The Memoirs of General de Segur An immediate sensation when it was first published in under the title History of the Expedition to Russia Undertaken by the Emperor Napoleon in the Year this remarkable chronicle offers an

  • Title: Napoleon's Expedition to Russia: The Memoirs of General de Segur
  • Author: Philippe-Paul de Ségur Christopher Summerville
  • ISBN: 9780786711741
  • Page: 408
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Napoleon's Expedition to Russia: The Memoirs of General de Segur”

    1. A must for disaster junkies, fans of slow breakdown and group degeneration—anyone who can’t get enough of that horrible sorting which leaves some of the shipwrecked with their wits and capacity for teamwork, others with nothing but predacious urges and a callous despair. Also a plum if you like Romanticism. Once the retreat from Moscow begins, every page is a canvas of Delacroix or Géricault: pathetic calamities under exotic skies, in turbulent colors.* (Negligible cannibalism, which is a s [...]

    2. NAPOLEON’S RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN. (1824; Eng. trans. 1958). Philippe-Paul de Segur; translated into English by J. David Townsend. ****. This is an excellent history of Napolean’s 1812 Russian campaign, written by his aide-de-camp. Philippe-Paul de Segur (1780-1873) began the campaign as Napoleon’s aide, but was ultimately promoted to the rank of brigadier general. He was constantly by Napoleon’s side, and was witness to all orders and battles first hand. This history was originally published [...]

    3. The best war memoir I've read save those of William Sherman (which ought be required reading for every American male). Perfection.---I was given this book by a goodreader last year, and finally got around to it. Thanks so much, Jen!---as i get older, i find myself wanting to read books about war pretty much all the time. so it goes! yet another weighty historical tome I've been shamed into reading by mighty eric, who one must assume is hung like reggie freakin' nelson.

    4. Some interesting insight into Napoleon's character and decision making process. There were far too many descriptions of detailed military maneuvers however, and the writing in these moments was devoid of energy (the extensive use of exclamation points didn't cover this fact up). I found myself frustrated with de Segur's obvious restraint regarding the portrait he creates of his hero Napoleon. It is clear that he wishes to excuse Napoleon's dangerous ego and inability to grasp the obvious. Due to [...]

    5. Philippe-Paul de Ségur puts humanity back into an event where we get distracted by the sheer number of the dead. I've read histories now where historians estimate the size of The Grande Armée to have been anywhere from 300,000 and 600,000 men on the way to Moscow; survivors of the campaign are estimated between 30,000 to 50,000. That's a lot of zeroes, and a lot of rounding, and a lot of missing stories of human happenings. Maybe the best possible representation of the quantitative loss was co [...]

    6. This relatively thin (just shy of 300 pages) account of Napoleon's disastrous Russian Campaign is not a grand study of the operational, tactical, and strategic shortcomings that led to the decimation of the Grande Armée. For that there are many other books from von Clauswitz's Russian Campaign of 1812 (he fought in the service of Russians) to a plethora of more modern analyses. Instead, this is a memoir written from the perspective of Napoleon's aide-de-camp. Count Philippe-Paul de Ségur publi [...]

    7. This book is a classic. Count de Segur served Emperor Napoleon for 15 years as an aide-de-camp and later he served Napoleon as his quarter master general during the Russian Invasion of 1812. The abridged de Segur memoir was written by his son and became a standard reference on the tragedy of invasion and the burning of Moscow resulting from the Russian strategy for defeating Napoleon's army. I found the writing exceptional and I now better understand the reasons for why Russian General Kutulov's [...]

    8. Interesting that this is one of the more complete histories of the Moscow campaign and properly ascribes the defeat to the weather and the burning of Moscow rather than to some sort of French failure as any British based history would allow. Correctly highlights the fact that Napoleon was one of the few if not the only general in history to take Moscow by military arms successfully. Any 19th century aficionado has to read this fantastic primary account.

    9. Fascinating insider account of the entire disastrous Russian campaign of 1812. Surprisingly contemporary translation limps at spots, but de Segur comes across as a real person rather than an icy narrator. Most satisfying moment - watching the Little Corporal ride painfully across the Russian steppes with a severe urinary tract infection

    10. An unexpectedly moving piece of history. As Napoleon's aide-de-camp during the Russian campaign, Segur was present during the battles and the disastrous retreat, as well as the discussions and decision-making that brought on the destruction of the Grande Armee without ever losing a battle to the Russians. We feel Napoleon's uncertainty about whether to advance on Moscow and his consternation at the ruthless and to him (and me) barbarous lengths to which the Russian elite were prepared to go to a [...]

    11. A suspenseful retelling of the beginning of the fall of Napoleon. de Segur has a key eye for detail and sets a standard for reportage and subtle forshadowing for which both journalists and screenwritings ought to aspire.In a mere 289 pages he recounts Napoleon's Russian campaign - its empty victories leading to the destruction of an abandoned Moscow, and the brutal and complete destruction of his army that follows. With spare writing he paints a vivid picture of a man of greatness found suddenly [...]

    12. Just finished this last night and its quite fantastic. Segur (the author) removes himself in such a way from his involvement in the campaign that you feel utter decimation of the humanity within the soldiers is felt when its called for and when its not it feels relatively removed from his own opinions of those months. You get a very good view of Napoleon himself on a personal level, as well as his Kings, Princes, and top Marshalls. Segur is for the most part non-biased in his accounts, though th [...]

    13. The author (an eyewitness to the campaign) does not get bogged down too much in the details, and instead focuses more on his observances of human nature, Napoleon, and war in general. There are some good lessons for how an army can be, in the authors words, 'unbeaten yet defeated.' I confess a bit a chill went through me when I read this section, when a French marshal urges retreat and says, 'Didn't you see the field of yesterday's engagement, or notice the fury with which the Russian recruits - [...]

    14. A first-hand account of Napoleon's Russian invasion and retreat omits some global details -- but this powerful testimony to those terrible days is often more interesting than any historical recreation.

    15. started, love the front row perspective. segur really goes on about how napoleon manages to offend everyone and rub their (aristocratic) noses in his upstart grandeur. reading on iphone, with interruptions.

    16. A great telling of the Napoleonic campaign of Russia by one of his generals. Incredibly good detail on the workings of Napoleon's army, the formations, obstacles and the incredible amount of resources it takes to move an army across the hellish landscape that is Russia.

    17. I expected much more from this book than I got, and that probably says more about me than anything else. The author simply doesn't communicate the epic sweep. This is a fantastic story told in a disjointed way without much characterization or sense of place.

    18. A detailed account of Napoleon's disastrous campaign in Russia as told by one of his aides. A memoir, written 20 years later, that accurately depicts the mistakes of Napoleon and the sufferings of his "Grand Army".

    19. I read the fiction of War and Peace. Now I'd like to read a real life account of Napoleon's 1812 march on Moscow.

    20. Brian and others, I just want to let you know about this book. I think it will be a great interest for you guys. 'War and Peace' was sort of based on this particular book.

    21. I have a much older version of this book, published in 1958 and translated from the French by J. David Townsend. I thought it was quite good, however. Enjoyed it.

    22. I love Russian history but had a hard time with this one, because it assumes a vast knowledge of what happened before this book.Still, interesting!

    23. First hand account of Napoleon's disastrous Russian expedition. This volume is a heavily edited version of de Segur's massive effort. No index and only one map.

    24. This is good! And it's poetic, beautifully done. The imagery is vivid and unforgettable. I think it was employed by Tolstoy in War and Peace. I want to read War and Peace, but I lost my copy.

    25. A fun read in your interested in the tactical elements of the campaign. For a comprehensive history, I'd look elsewhere.

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