100 books like Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon

By Rory Muir,

Here are 100 books that Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon fans have personally recommended if you like Tactics and the Experience of Battle in the Age of Napoleon. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Armies of Wellington

Charles J. Esdaile Author Of The Peninsular War: A New History

From my list on the Peninsular War for hardcore history lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For thirty-one years a member of the History Department of the University of Liverpool prior to his retirement in 2020, Charles J. Esdaile has written a host of books on the Napoleonic era, but is particularly knowledgeable in respect of the Peninsular War of 1808-1814, a subject to whose historiography he has made an extraordinary contribution. Thus, setting aside a host of articles and conference papers, he has published eight books on the subject. 

Charles' book list on the Peninsular War for hardcore history lovers

Charles J. Esdaile Why did Charles love this book?

As has already been made clear, the British army did not fight the Peninsular War single-handed. That said, it cannot be ignored, and this book is very much the place to go for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of the subject. Amongst the topics covered are officers and men, recruitment, the different arms of service, tactics, discipline, foreign regiments, and much else besides, while the author writes in a style that is simple and unaffected. Thoroughly recommended!

By Philip J. Haythornthwaite,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Armies of Wellington as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This text provides a study of how Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, structured, equipped, utilized and adapted the forces under his command in his various campaigns. Philip Haythornthwaite has also written "World War I Source Book" and "Napoleonic Source Book".


Book cover of Salamanca, 1812

Charles J. Esdaile Author Of The Peninsular War: A New History

From my list on the Peninsular War for hardcore history lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For thirty-one years a member of the History Department of the University of Liverpool prior to his retirement in 2020, Charles J. Esdaile has written a host of books on the Napoleonic era, but is particularly knowledgeable in respect of the Peninsular War of 1808-1814, a subject to whose historiography he has made an extraordinary contribution. Thus, setting aside a host of articles and conference papers, he has published eight books on the subject. 

Charles' book list on the Peninsular War for hardcore history lovers

Charles J. Esdaile Why did Charles love this book?

Fought on 22 July 1812, the Battle of Salamanca has been described as ‘Wellington’s masterpiece’, and was certainly a dramatic affair, witnessing, as it did, the British commander turn what could have been a dispiriting retreat a devastating counter-attack that left the French army of Marshal Marmont reeling and in tatters. In this work, the foremost expert on Wellington and his campaigns analyses both the struggle and the many personal accounts to which it gave rise stage by stage, the result being quite simply a book which has few equals as an account of a single Peninsular-War battle.

By Rory Muir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Salamanca, 1812 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

July 22, 1812. Salamanca, Spain. Frustrated at their first advance, British forces under Wellington's command have spent the last four days maneuvering and retreating from the French army. Patient and cautious, Wellington is determined not to make a fatal mistake. He glimpses a moment of opportunity and grasps it, committing all of his troops to a sudden devastating attack. At the end of the day, the French army is broken, panic-stricken, and reeling; Wellington has achieved the finest victory of his brilliant military career.

This book examines in unprecedented detail the battle of Salamanca, a critical British victory that proved…


Book cover of Wellington: The Path to Victory 1769-1814

Philip Dwyer Author Of Napoleon: The Path to Power 1769 - 1799

From my list on the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on Europe.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an Australian historian specializing in the French Revolution and Napoleon. I have spent a goodly part of my career writing a three-volume biography of Napoleon, alongside chapters, articles, and edited books that aimed at reassessing the man and the period. Working on Napoleon and the French as occupiers led me into the history of massacre and more broadly into the history of violence. I studied under the preeminent French Napoleonic scholar, Jean Tulard, at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV.

Philip's book list on the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on Europe

Philip Dwyer Why did Philip love this book?

Speaking of which, this is the first of a two-volume biography of Wellington and is no doubt the most exhaustive and the most up-to-date biography of the man and his career. I’ve personally always found Wellington to be a fairly unlikeable character and there is nothing in this biography that made me change my mind. However, Muir’s familiarity with the sources and the archives enables him to integrate the personal, the military, and the political into this thorough examination of the man that ultimately defeated Napoleon.

By Rory Muir,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Wellington as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A landmark contribution to understanding the real man behind the heroic legend inspired by the triumph at Waterloo

The Duke of Wellington was not just Britain's greatest soldier, although his seismic struggles as leader of the Allied forces against Napoleon in the Peninsular War deservedly became the stuff of British national legend. Wellington was much more: a man of vision beyond purely military matters, a politically astute thinker, and a canny diplomat as well as lover, husband, and friend. Rory Muir's masterful new biography, the first of a two-volume set, is the fruit of a lifetime's research and discovery into…


Book cover of Albuera 1811: The Bloodiest Battle of the Peninsular War

Charles J. Esdaile Author Of The Peninsular War: A New History

From my list on the Peninsular War for hardcore history lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

For thirty-one years a member of the History Department of the University of Liverpool prior to his retirement in 2020, Charles J. Esdaile has written a host of books on the Napoleonic era, but is particularly knowledgeable in respect of the Peninsular War of 1808-1814, a subject to whose historiography he has made an extraordinary contribution. Thus, setting aside a host of articles and conference papers, he has published eight books on the subject. 

Charles' book list on the Peninsular War for hardcore history lovers

Charles J. Esdaile Why did Charles love this book?

One of the very few battles of the Peninsular War in which the British army was involved from which Wellington was absent, Albuera was a desperate affair which saw the Allied commander, Sir William Beresford, completely out-witted by his French counterpart, Marshal Soult, only for the polyglot assembly of British, Portuguese and Spanish troops which he commanded to save the day by means of a display of the most extraordinary gallantry. As the title implies, the casualties on both sides were terrible, but Albuera, 1811 shows beyond all doubt that the carnage should not be allowed to conceal the fact that the various stages of the battle are of enormous interest from the point of view of the military analyst: for example, few other battles offer so detailed a picture of the workings of French infantry tactics, whilst the defeat of a French cavalry charge by Portuguese infantry formed in…

By Guy Dempsey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Albuera 1811 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On 16 May 1811, the small town of Albuera was the setting for one of the Peninsular War's most bloody and desperate battles. A combined Spanish, British and Portuguese force of more than 30,000 men, under the command of Lord Beresford, stubbornly blocked the march of the French field marshal Soult, who was trying to reach the fortress of Badajoz, 12 miles north. Beresford, who defended himself with his bare hands against a Polish lancer, was victorious, but at the cost of 6,000 Allied deaths and 7,000 French in just four hours. The battle is best known for the Fusilier…


Book cover of The Decisive Battles of the Western World and Their Influence Upon History

Duncan Falconer Author Of First into Action

From my list on providing a unique insight into military history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I must be something of a specialist on the impact of conventional and guerrilla warfare on the civilian population. Truth is, leaving school, I never intended to have anything to do with war beyond the books I enjoyed reading. On leaving the military in my 30s I employed the only skills I had and managed organisations and mostly news teams operating in conflict zones all over the world. I matured into a crisis manager, responding and consulting to crisis situations such as kidnap & ransoms, and evacuations from conflict zones. Most of the characters in my books are real, good and bad, taken from the vast theatre of my own experiences. 

Duncan's book list on providing a unique insight into military history

Duncan Falconer Why did Duncan love this book?

I read this book when I was 16 years old. It was my first military history book and I could not put it down. Up until then I had only read military fiction: War and Peace, Ben Hur – the bigger the books the better. What captivated me most about Fuller's 2 volumes was the battles he chose to describe, starting with Salamis in 480BC, had the outcomes been different the course of world history would have changed significantly. The world in which we live in today would not be the same. This only served to intensify my interest in the detailed descriptions and at the end of each battle I'd try and imagine how history might have been impacted had the outcomes been reversed. 

Book cover of The Face of Battle

Clark McCauley Author Of Radicalization to Terrorism: What Everyone Needs to Know

From my list on to understand the experience of men in combat.

Why am I passionate about this?

Research Professor of Psychology at Bryn Mawr College. Since the 9/11 attacks I have tried to understand how normal individuals, people like you and me, can move to terrorism in particular and political violence more generally. I retired from teaching in 2015 to have more time to write. I’ve written about genocide (Why Not Kill Them All? The Logic and Prevention of Mass Political Murder), about self-sacrifice (The Marvel of Martyrdom: The Power of Self Sacrifice in a Selfish World), and about terrorism (Friction: How Conflict Radicalizes Them and Us). 

Clark's book list on to understand the experience of men in combat

Clark McCauley Why did Clark love this book?

Keegan popularized a new kind of military history, history focused on the experience of those “at the sharp end” of battle. Generals may as individuals have the most influence on the course of battle, but Keegan argues that, taken together, the men doing the fighting have more influence than the generals. He describes the experiences of men in three famous battles, and shows how tactics evolved but the demands of facing death remained all too familiar. I love this book for using history to find the psychology of men in combat.

By John Keegan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Face of Battle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


John Keegan's groundbreaking portrayal of the common soldier in the heat of battle -- a masterpiece that explores the physical and mental aspects of warfare

The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at the "point of maximum danger." Without the myth-making elements of rhetoric and xenophobia, and breaking away from the stylized format of battle descriptions, John Keegan has written what is probably the definitive model for military historians. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles representative of three different time periods, he manages to convey what the…


Book cover of The Good Soldiers

Martin Pengelly Author Of Brotherhood: When West Point Rugby Went to War

From my list on brotherhood in war – and sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I played rugby union for Durham University and at Rosslyn Park FC in London. Then I became a reporter and editor, for Rugby News magazine and on Fleet Street sports desks. In March 2002, six months after 9/11 and a year before the invasion of Iraq, my Park team played against the cadets of the United States Military Academy. Years later, settled in New York, I decided to find out what happened to those West Point rugby players in the 9/11 wars, and what their experiences might tell us about sports, war, brotherhood, loss, and remembrance.

Martin's book list on brotherhood in war – and sports

Martin Pengelly Why did Martin love this book?

Finkel, of The Washington Post, surpassed most Iraq reportage with his account of his time in Baghdad in 2007 with 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division – the 2-16 Rangers for short.

Embedded with soldiers on the shifting front lines of a savage war, what he showed was neither good nor bad: it just was.

Finkel’s title echoes The Good Soldier Svejk, Jaroslav Hašek’s first world war satire. There’s satire in Finkel, about American notions of Iraq and war that deepened with a home-front sequel, Thank You For Your Service. But there is also simple acceptance of these soldiers as human beings, placed in savage extremis. I carried Finkel’s example into every conversation about the West Point players’ experiences, losses, and lives.

By David Finkel,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Good Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In January 2007, the young and optimistic soldiers of the 2-16, the American infantry battalion known as the Rangers, were sent to Iraq as part of the surge. Their job would be to patrol one of the most dangerous areas of Baghdad.

For fifteen months, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Finkel was with them, following them almost every grueling step of the way. The resulting account of that time, The Good Soldiers, is a searing, shattering portrait of the face of modern war. In telling the story of these soldiers, both the heroes and the ruined, David Finkel has also written…


Book cover of Gardens of the Moon

Duncan Hubber Author Of Notes from the Citadel: The Philosophy and Psychology of A Song of Ice and Fire

From my list on The best philosophical fantasy novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an academic at the University of Queensland whose research areas include horror films, screen trauma theory, the cinematic representation of urban spaces, and the collision of romanticism and postmodernism in fantasy literature. My first book, POV Horror: The Trauma Aesthetic of the Found Footage Subgenre, was adapted from my PhD thesis. I am an avid member of the A Song of Ice and Fire fandom, and my second book represents over a decade of talking and writing about George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy series, having grown out of conversations in forums, podcasts, symposiums, and fan conventions, as well as my own background in literary analysis and research.

Duncan's book list on The best philosophical fantasy novels

Duncan Hubber Why did Duncan love this book?

The first installment in Erikson’s magnum opus introduces readers to the voracious Malazan Empire and focuses on a military, political, and supernatural battle for the free city of Darujhistan.

It boasts a vast, strange cast of characters and an even vaster, stranger world. However, Erikson demonstrates how every element, from the lowest trader to the mightiest god, can shape the outcomes of events. The free will of each character is shown to be in constant tension with the free wills of others, as well as the wrenching currents of history.

The antagonist of Erikson’s story is not a dark lord, but nihilism—the prospect that there is no moral order or higher meaning to existence—and every one of his characters must face this threat and figure out how to survive it.

By Steven Erikson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Gardens of the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the last of the free cities of the Malazan Empire is targeted by the forces of the Empress Laseen, Bridgeburner squad leader Sergeant Whiskeyjack and the mage Tattersall confront dark gods to protect the citadel of Darujhistan.


Book cover of A Bond Undone

Alice Poon Author Of The Heavenly Sword

From my list on wuxia/xianxia fantasy books with strong-willed and free-spirited female leads.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Chinese history took root when I began reading Jin Yong’s wuxia novels, which are all steeped in Chinese historical background. My fiction writing career began with historical fiction based on Chinese history. Through my earlier research work, I discovered that Chinese historians have always given short shrift to the influence of women on cultural, political, and social developments throughout the ages. That led me to decide to center my writing around inspiring Chinese female historical figures. After publishing The Green Phoenix and Tales of Ming Courtesans, I branched out to write wuxia fantasy novels, but with the same objective of featuring admirable female historical/fictional characters.

Alice's book list on wuxia/xianxia fantasy books with strong-willed and free-spirited female leads

Alice Poon Why did Alice love this book?

The carefree Lotus Huang comes into her own in this volume as she charms her way with wiles through problems and obstacles she and Guo Jing encounter as a couple, including two girls to whom Guo Jing is betrothed against his will. She is not as frivolous as she appears, and she always watches bumbling Guo Jing’s back.

This is the second English volume in Legends of the Condor Heroes, which is a popular novel by Jin Yong that I had read in Chinese as a child and which I recently re-read and still loved. I picked out this volume mainly because I adored the translation of one poetic passage describing the hallucinating “Ode to the Billowing Tide” flute melody played by Apothecary Huang. 

By Jin Yong, Gigi Chang (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Bond Undone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Bond Undone is the second book in Jin Yong's epic Chinese classic and phenomenon Legends of Condor Heroes, published in the US for the first time!

In the Jin capital of Zhongdu, Guo Jing learns the truth of his father’s death and finds he is now betrothed, against his will, to two women. Neither of them is his sweetheart Lotus Huang.

Torn between following his heart and fulfilling his filial duty, Guo Jing journeys through the country of his parents with Lotus, encountering mysterious martial heroes and becoming drawn into the struggle for the supreme martial text, the Nine…


Book cover of Pickett's Charge

Bruce L. Brager Author Of Grant's Victory: How Ulysses S. Grant Won the Civil War

From my list on leadership in the American Civil War.

Why am I passionate about this?

The writer part should be obvious. I write books under my own name and as a ghostwriter. But also, like any good writer, I am a reader. The earliest books I recall reading, after Dick and Jane, were books on American history, in particular the American Civil War. When I looked to write on my own, this was the first area I looked into. Write what you know. Write what you like to read.

Bruce's book list on leadership in the American Civil War

Bruce L. Brager Why did Bruce love this book?

The subtitle of this book is A Microhistory of the Final Attack at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. This puts it well. This is virtually a “real-time” history of one of the most significant battles in American History. It is well documented and the book is very well written. It places the reader in the battle as the fate of the United States hangs in the balance.

By George R. Stewart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pickett's Charge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book covers a critical part of the Battle of Gettysburg.


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