Polish Eyewitnesses to Napoleon's 1812 Campaign

Advance and Retreat in Russia

Marek Tadeusz Lalowski, Jonathan North

Napoleon's invasion of Russia cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and changed the course of history.
Date Published :
December 2020
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
30 color illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Hardback
ISBN : 9781526782618
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stock
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Napoleon’s invasion of Russia cost the lives of hundreds of thousands and changed the course of history. Europe had never seen an army quite like the one gathering in Poland in 1812 – half a million men in brilliant uniforms, plumed shakoes and shimmering helmets. Six months later, it was the ghost of an army, frozen and miserable, that limped back to their horrified homes.

While the story of this epic military disaster has often been told, it has never been described before from the viewpoint of the tens of thousands of Polish soldiers who took part, and that is why this selection of their vivid eyewitness testimony is of such value.

Most of their accounts – letters, diaries and memoirs – have not been translated into English before, and they come from a variety of authors. Some of them were patriots who were keen to wage war on the Russians in order to regain independence for their country. Others were charmed by the glory of Napoleonic warfare or were professional soldiers who did their duty but had seen too much war to be seduced by it.

They all tell an unrivaled tale – of muskets and drums and burning villages, of Borodino and Moscow and ruthless battles, and of the numbing hunger and biting cold. By the end the great army had been reduced to a pitiless mob and the Polish soldiers, who had set out with such hope, recalled it with horror.

About The Author

Marek Tadeusz Łałowski is a Polish historian specialising in the Polish contribution to Napoleon’s campaigns. With his co-author Jonathan North he has published Glory and Despair: Polish Accounts of the Sieges of Saragossa, 1808 and 1809 and War of Lost Hope: Polish Accounts of the Napoleonic Expedition to Saint Domingue, 1801 to 1804.

Translator and editor: Jonathan North is a professional editor and a historian specialising in Napoleonic history. He spent a number of years in Eastern Europe before beginning a career in publishing in 1997. His publications include With Napoleon in Russia: The Illustrated Memoirs of Faber du Faur, In the Legions of Napoleon: The Memoirs of a Polish Officer in Spain and Russia, 1808-1812 and Napoleon’s Army in Russia: The Illustrated Memoirs of Albrecht Adam, 1812.

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