The Fall of Napoleon: Volume 1, The Allied Invasion of France, 1813-1814

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Cambridge University Press, Nov 12, 2007 - History - 706 pages
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This book tells the story of the invasion of France at the twilight of Napoleon's empire. With over a million men under arms throughout central Europe, Coalition forces poured over the Rhine River to invade France between late November 1813 and early January 1814. Three principle army groups drove across the great German landmark, smashing the exhausted French forces that attempted to defend the eastern frontier. In less than a month, French forces ingloriously retreated from the Rhine to the Marne; Allied forces were within one week of reaching Paris. This book provides the first complete, English-language study of the invasion of France along a front that extended from Holland to Switzerland.

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The fall of Napoleon

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Here is the first English language-authored account of the military campaign that brought Napoleon to his knees. In December 1813, the once powerful French legions were ensconced on the west bank of ... Read full review

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I reviewed this book on my site over at, head over and check out my other reviews.
Crushing defeats in Russia (1812) and Germany (1813) caused the collapse of Napoleon’s empire
and brought his enemies to the Rhine River at the close of 1813. With a depleted and exhausted army, Napoleon attempted to direct the defense of his frontier from the Alps to the North Sea while he mobilized France. From Paris, the new Prometheus watched helplessly as his marshals conducted a headlong retreat from the Rhine to the Marne in less than one month. The breakdown of the French command structure and overwhelming Allied superiority placed the French marshals charged with defending the Rhine in an impossible situation. Although Napoleon needed them to use their scant forces to make a desperate stand on the Rhine and away from the administrative apparatus that fed his war machine, the marshals believed they had to trade land for time – the exact opposite of what Napoleon needed to maintain his crown.
Dr. Michael V. Leggiere is an associate professor of history at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. He received his Ph.D. from Florida State University in April 1997 after studying at the Institute of the French Revolution and Napoleon.
This book is an amazing 554 pages of incredibly detailed information about The Napoleonic Wars from 1813-1814. I can’t stress enough about the amount of detail in this book, I don’t think I’ve ever read such an in-depth account of The Napoleonic Wars. This isn’t a book about Napoleon’s life, what type of jam he liked, or his favorite sexual position. It’s all about the war, and not even the whole war, just the last year, prior to the Allied invasion of France. Dr. Leggiere has obviously spent years sifting through records and other sources to bring us one of the best accounts of the end of the Napoleonic Wars. He takes us into the minds of Napoleon and his marshals, as well as the Allied leaders and generals. He does an amazing job of laying out the mind set, tactics and goals of each leader and general.
I only have one problem with this book, and I am willing to bet that few others feel the same. I wish the author would add phonetic spellings for the names and places. I never took French in high school and am uncertain throughout the book if I’m pronouncing the names correctly. Now I imagine most people who would read such an in-depth account of Napoleon will not have this problem, but it’s my review.
Overall, I think this is an amazing book. It’s not going to win the Exciting award, but I don’t think you’ll find a better book chronicling the downfall of Napoleon. If all you know about Napoleon is that he was short and wore a big funny hat, than I would suggest you start with something more basic and wider in scope. But if you’re interested in Napoleon and looking for an in-depth study, there is not a better book to start with.


1 The New Charlemagne
2 Barbarians at the Gate
3 The Frankfurt Proposals
4 Napoleon and the French
5 The Left Bank
6 The Right Bank
7 The Lower Rhine
8 The Upper Rhine
12 Lorraine
13 The Saar and the Moselle
14 Belgium
15 The Marne
16 Bourgogne the Rhˆone and the Aube
17 The Protocols of Langres

9 The Middle Rhine
10 Alsace and FrancheComte
11 The Vosges and the Saone

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Page 653 - BURGHERSH'S (LORD) Memoir of the Operations of the Allied Armies under Prince Schwarzenberg and Marshal Blucher during the latter end of 1S13—14.

About the author (2007)

Dr Michael V. Leggiere is an Associate Professor of History at the University of North Texas. His book, Napoleon and Berlin: The Franco-Prussian War in North Germany, 1813 (2002), won the Société Napoléonienne Internationale's 2002 Literary Award. In 2005, he received the Société Napoléonienne Internationale Legion of Merit Award for Outstanding Contributions to Napoleonic Studies.

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