Austin, Paul Britten.


1st ed., 1996. 464 pp., plates + maps. D.j., 24 x 16cm. Small mark to fore-edge o/w FINE. This book is complete in itself but follows on from the author's two previous works 1812: The March on Moscow and 1812: Napoleon in Moscow. It tells of the 800 mile retreat from Moscow concluding the most famously disastrous campaign in history. Forced to turn back in the face of winter's onset, almost nothing of the drastically reduced French army lived to re-cross the Niemen River. Using the words of 160 of the participants, many published in English for the first time, the author brings unparalleled authenticity and immediacy to his unique account of the end of Napoleon's dramatic and tragic 1812 campaign. The book follows the army as it crossed the horrific relics of the Borodino battlefield, fighting its way through the Russians' successive attempts to cut it off, and winning, against overwhelming odds, the three-day battle of the Berezina crossing. The first-hand narratives describe Marshal Ney's astounding achievement in holding together the rearguard until he himself, musket in hand, was the last man to cross the Niemen into Poland.

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