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Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/11/2009 10:53:31 AM   
leastonh1


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Hello all,

This year, I'm going to make a determined effort to get into playing Napoleonics. I'm going to buy a game from dear old Matrix, but know I'd never play it without some knowledge of the history first. As I keep banging on about how little I know about the subject and would like to learn, I'm after book recommendations please.

I'd like something that goes into reasonable detail about the military history from this period and methods of warfare, as much as the actual Napoleonic campaign itself, but without getting bogged down in the millions of details which seem to plague many books on the period. After spending an hour in Borders and Waterstones (UK book shops) recently, I don't think such a book exists.

The main criteria is that the book(s) has to be noob friendly! I did buy one after reading the fluff on the back cover (I know. Stupid!) which said it was "accessible to the layman" and it lost me in the first chapter. I've never seen so many French names in one place and it was incredibly effective as a cure for insomnia! I don't have the patience to try and remember the names of 50 French people who were involved in order to progress past page 10. So much for accessible. It was honestly that bad. So, before I give up completely because I'm too stupid to learn about this period in history, someome please give me a recommendation for one book.

Something like the "Complete Idiots Guide to Wargaming Napoleonics for Stupid People Who Really Haven't Got a Clue" would be awesome.

I'll be your best friend forever if you can satisfy my requirements

Thank you kindly,
Jim

_____________________________

2nd Lt. George Rice: Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded.
Richard Winters: We're paratroopers, Lieutenant, we're supposed to be surrounded.
Post #: 1
RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/11/2009 11:33:55 AM   
PunkReaper


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The Napoleonic era is a really rich time to read about. Here are a few suggestions.

The War of Wars: The Great European Conflict, 1793-1815 by Robert Harvey. This book puts the Napoleonic wars in the overall historic perspective.. Good history and an easy read.

Napoleon for Dummies by J. David Markham. More of a who's who nd when who did what book.

The Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell. Give a fun fictional feel to the Napoleonic Wars.

Napoleon 101 podcasts. http://napoleon.thepodcastnetwork.com/ They are also available through i-tunes and are by J David Markham who is well respected in his field. (Wrote Napoleon for dummies) This is perfect listening. I listened to the series while playing my games, perfect background.

Need anymore suggestions just ask.

(in reply to leastonh1)
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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/11/2009 4:40:10 PM   
andym


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Try the Matthew Hervey series by Allan Mallinson.He is a retired Britsh Army Brigadier in the 13th/18th Hussars.


http://www.amazon.co.uk/Books/s?ie=UTF8&rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_27%3AAllan%20Mallinson&field-author=Allan%20Mallinson&page=1

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/11/2009 6:35:46 PM   
E

 

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Great thread!  I have also wanted to delve into Napoleonics, having bought many games over the years (since the 80's) and still can sum up my total knowledge as having watched the Sharpe's Rifles/Eagle/Etc Movies (where I learned what the hell a Square was for).

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/11/2009 7:20:20 PM   
Hertston


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim_H

I'd like something that goes into reasonable detail about the military history from this period and methods of warfare, as much as the actual Napoleonic campaign itself, but without getting bogged down in the millions of details which seem to plague many books on the period. After spending an hour in Borders and Waterstones (UK book shops) recently, I don't think such a book exists.



You need two, David Chandler's 'The Campaigns of Napoleon' (THE one volume history) and Brent Nosworthy's 'Battle Tactics of Napoleon and his Enemies'.

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/11/2009 7:37:15 PM   
Ron

 

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You can't go wrong with Hertston's recommendation of Chandler's 'The Campaigns of Napoleon', pretty much the standard place to start. Though in all honesty, if a few French names are what you would call inaccessible then...


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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/11/2009 10:04:18 PM   
Arsan

 

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Another thumbs up for the awesome Chandler's "The Campaigns of Napoleon". Its big, its very complete and detailed but extremely readable and engaging.
It will make a "grognard" of you
It was the first real book i read about the era and the first book i read in English language. It took a while but i highly enjoyed each and every one of the 1,200 pages.


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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/12/2009 3:14:09 AM   
Gil R.


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Just today Mr. Z posted a bunch of references in the "Crown of Glory: Emperor's Edition" forum. Definitely take a look there (if you haven't seen it already).

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/12/2009 5:12:46 AM   
Grell

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hertston




David Chandler's 'The Campaigns of Napoleon'


I second this book.

Regards,

Grell

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/12/2009 5:58:17 AM   
sabre1


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I agree with everyone here, this is a must read: David Chandler's 'The Campaigns of Napoleon'

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/12/2009 8:23:02 AM   
leastonh1


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I've started to download the podcasts mentioned by Punk Reaper and have ordered Napoleon for Dummies as it seems to be the easiest to digest in reviews.

As everyone seems to agree on the book by David Chandler, I'm buying that one too.

I'd never considered the fiction side of this before and know that my father-in-law has all the Sharpe books and at least one or two by Allan Mallinson. I'm going to have to borrow those from him.

Thank you all for the recommendations and taking the time to help. I can now safely blame you guys when my wife gives me grief for buying yet more books!


_____________________________

2nd Lt. George Rice: Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded.
Richard Winters: We're paratroopers, Lieutenant, we're supposed to be surrounded.

(in reply to sabre1)
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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/13/2009 2:40:10 AM   
madgamer2

 

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put me down fot it also. Have read it three times.

Madgamer

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/17/2009 10:53:08 AM   
PunkReaper


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Just had another thought about Napoleonic fiction. Simon Scarrow is 3 books into a fictional series about Napoleon and Wellington. He's a great writer and not only are the books entertaining but they give you a good sketch of the two great antagonists.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Young-Bloods-Revolution-Wellington-Napoleon/dp/075532434X/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234867936&sr=8-4

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/17/2009 5:12:32 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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West Point put out an atlas/commentary that had a map on every other page. Made it very easy to follow Napoleon's campaigns. Can't remember the name offhand.

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/17/2009 5:43:59 PM   
PunkReaper


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quote:

West Point put out an atlas/commentary that had a map on every other page. Made it very easy to follow Napoleon's campaigns. Can't remember the name offhand


was this the one you were thinking of:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Point-Atlas-Napoleon-Military-History/dp/0757001556

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/17/2009 10:21:22 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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Yeah, thanks. Mine has a different cover. But it looks the same.

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/18/2009 12:50:09 AM   
jagdwolf

 

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(Damn message board timed me out, so typing this all again...hate that)

I'll second the recommendation for Sharpe's Rifles, should be easily available at any major library. Also, that's a good place to browse other histories of the period for books you might want to buy. On the lighter side, the entire series of books from Osprey covering the Napoleonic battles, armies and period are easy reads and very well done.

On a similar non-traditional front, there are some great movies and tv shows out there to watch. I'd recommend the following:
"The Duellists" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075968/
"Waterloo"  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066549/
"Sharpe's Rifles" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0108108/ (first of a whole series)
They are all great fun to watch and give some solid background.

As for gaming, "Carnage and Glory" is my favorite table top miniatures system for the period (computer aided). "Empires in Arms" is an excellent grand strategic board and computer game. (Although the computer version is best for PBEM, AI is rather weak) and "Crown of Glory" is great fun for grand tactical combat, I am looking forward to CoG II.
Also, "Total War: Empires" is launching in about 2 weeks. http://www.totalwar.com/empire/?t=EnglishUSA This is the latest in what has been an incredibly good series from them. (Turn based strategy with amazing real time tactical combat, very well done and gorgeous) The TW series is usually a bit ahistorical, but the engine is easily modded and the mod community usually churns out some much more historically accurate mods very quickly.

Welcome to the club by the way! Napoleonics was what first got me into wargaming of all sorts and has always remained my favorite time period.

< Message edited by jagdwolf -- 2/18/2009 12:51:06 AM >

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/18/2009 9:45:48 AM   
Arsan

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Punk Reaper

quote:

West Point put out an atlas/commentary that had a map on every other page. Made it very easy to follow Napoleon's campaigns. Can't remember the name offhand


was this the one you were thinking of:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Point-Atlas-Napoleon-Military-History/dp/0757001556


Hi!
I'm not sure that is the "good" one.
The most famous and beloved by grognards is this one

http://www.amazon.com/Military-History-Atlas-Napoleonic-Wars/dp/1853673463/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234950204&sr=8-3

Unfortunately its out of print. And good copies can reach pretty high prices on ebay and second hand shops.
I don't have if but i've heard it's a jewel

Regards!


< Message edited by Arsan -- 2/18/2009 9:46:12 AM >

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/18/2009 11:37:46 AM   
PunkReaper


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You're right Arsan. That is the one I've read but don't own, luckily our library has a copy.

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RE: Napoleonics (again!) - book recommendations please - 2/18/2009 6:45:55 PM   
anarchyintheuk

 

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Ditto above. I remember the names Esposito and Elting. My Dad's copy is still readable but hardly in good condition.

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