Russia Against Napoleon

By Dominic Lieven,

Book cover of Russia Against Napoleon: The Battle for Europe, 1807 to 1814

Book description

'A compulsive page-turner ... a triumph of brilliant storytelling ... an instant classic that is an awesome, remarkable and exuberant achievement' Simon Sebag Montefiore

Winner of the Wolfson History Prize and shortlisted for the Duff Cooper Prize

In the summer of 1812 Napoleon, the master of Europe, marched into Russia…

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Why read it?

4 authors picked Russia Against Napoleon as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The most important strategic fact in this war was the defeat of Napoleon’s great army which invaded Russia in 1812, and its destruction by winter weather during the retreat from Moscow later that year. It was a blow from which Napoleon never recovered.

This fascinating book is written from Russian sources, bringing the extraordinary story of the decision to abandon and burn Moscow, and how the Russian army was used and commanded. No one who looks at the war as a whole can ignore this book. The fact that Hitler repeated the same mistake of invading Russia in 1941 makes…

Perhaps the single greatest study to emerge from a formidable list of fine books on the Russian contribution to the defeat of Napoleon. Beautifully written, interlaced with vivid pen portraits of some of the most colourful characters of the age, Lieven writes with sympathy and insight of a country assailed and battered by Napoleon, and gives his readers a sensitive account of how the Tsar and his people rose to the challenge, and also of how they often came close to disaster. He follows their advance across Europe from the depths of their heartland to the Champs Elysées with the…

From Michael's list on Napoleon and an era that shook Europe.

One of the few books to explore Russia’s interactions with France, and not just the disastrous 1812 campaign. Lieven, a specialist in Imperial Russian history, gives the reader an invaluable insight into Russian thinking and Russian sources that is often missing from English language books on the Napoleonic Wars. Written in an accessible and engaging style, it explores the central role Alexander I played in Napoleon’s downfall as ‘liberator’ of Europe.

Napoleon’s decision to invade Russia and extend the war beyond the European continent was a colossal error of judgment, a strategic blunder that condemned his army to defeat and arguably changed the course of European history. In this masterly study, Dominic Lieven analyses the history of the Moscow campaign from a Russian standpoint, charting Napoleon’s defeat from the moment the Grande Armée crossed on to Russian soil and showing how Alexander’s armies outmaneuvered Napoleon, allowing Russia to emerge in 1815 as the new liberator of Europe, with consequences that would endure across the nineteenth century and beyond.

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