The Campaigns of Napoleon
The Campaigns of Napoleon
The Campaigns of Napoleon cover
Author(s) David Chandler
Language English
Genre Nonfiction
Publisher Scribner
Publication date March 1, 1973
ISBN 0025236601

The Campaigns of Napoleon, first published in 1966 by Macmillan Publishing Co, is a work by British historian David Chandler which serves as a complete description of the many campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte.


Over the years there have appeared some 250,000 books dealing with Napoleon, but this is the first modern volume to completely cover every campaign and battle which the Emperor personally conducted. By the completion of this huge undertaking, David Chandler has made it possible to view the whole of Napoleon's military career and to access the characteristics which brought him years of victory and then ultimate defeat.

Napoleon himself said, "Je n'ai jamais eu un plan d'operations," but as the author shows, this comment was very deceptive. Every operation he conducted contains many unique features, but there were from first to last ceratin basic principles which he almost invariably applied. Yet, perhaps surprisingly, there was little that was new in the Emperor's military thinking - his particular genius lay as a commander in the field, where he made use of the ideas of others in his own brilliant fashion. It is above all as a practical commander in the field that Napoleon is depicted in this volume, and no reader of military affairs can afford to miss this brilliant account of a great military genius at work.

At 1172 pages, The Campaigns of Napoleon is ilustrated by 73 maps, specialy drawn for this book, and seven maps reproduced from original engravings. There are 84 half tone illustrations.


The Campaigns of Napoleon has received near universal acclaim for its comprehensiveness. Eliot Fremont-Smith of New York Times writes the book was "massive and absorbing -- one is tempted to say definitive -- account and detailed analysis of the military career of Napoleon....The descriptions of the battles -- all the important ones, and all augmented by superb position maps -- have perhaps never been done with greater clarity."

Los Angeles Times also praised the book, stating "Chandler's analysis is so thorough that there is hardly an area untouched." An article in The New Yorker comments "the book is engrossing, and...amounts to a first-rate general account of Europe in the Napoleonic era....brilliant, unremittingly attentive to detail and sparkling with insights into a man, a nation, and an epoch." Others, such as the The Boston Globe, praise the characterization of the people involved: "writing clearly and vividly, [Chandler] turns dozens of persons besides Napoleon from mere wooden soldiers into three-dimensional characters." John Barkham of Book Week writes "in every way...a pleasure to read...a remarkable work which comes as close to dissecting the ingredients of Napoleon's military genius as any I have read...[it is] that rare combination -- a book impeccable in its expertise, penetrating in its analysis, and attractive in its presentation. No matter how numerous your books on Napoleon, make room for this one."

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