Napoleon's Admirals: Flag Officers of the Arc de Triomphe, 1789–1815
“A most readable and interesting work . . . deserves a place on the shelves of anyone interested in war at sea during the Great French Wars.” —Nautical Research Journal
On the four sides of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, serried tablets display the names of 660 honored commanders of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Most are those of generals and marshals of the French Army—but 26 of them are those of admirals, commanders of the fleets of Republican and Napoleonic France.
In Napoleon’s Admirals, Richard Humble presents not only their individual stories, but an entirely new appraisal of the Anglo-French naval war of 1793-1814: the longest sea war in modern history.
Many myths are exploded in this book—from the long-held idea that aristocratic officers of the French Navy emigrated en masse when the Revolution came, leaving the Navy leaderless and doomed to repeated defeats at sea, to the popular British belief that the naval war ended with Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar.
Of the 26 “Admirals of the Arc,” 23 had learned their trade in the French royal and merchant navies of the ancien régime. Republican France could call on a wide range of seasoned combat veterans from the American Revolutionary War (1778-83), whose stories are a revelation in themselves.
In his account of the men who imposed such a strain in on the world’s greatest Navy for 21 years, Richard Humble has provided a remarkable addition to the well-worn pages of conventional naval history.
“Not only authoritative; it makes a very enjoyable and instructive read.” —The Napoleon Series
“Fills a major gap in this largely neglected period in French naval history.” —International Journal of Maritime History
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