Books by Robert B. Asprey

THE REIGN OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE by Robert B. Asprey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 15, 2001

"A hardy few may find value here. Others may want to dust off their copies of War and Peace and The Age of Napoleon."
Second installment of the two-part biography begun in The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte (2000), long on data but short on interpretation. Read full book review >
THE RISE OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE by Robert B. Asprey
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 1, 2000

"Look elsewhere, though, if you want a broader understanding of Napoleon's life and career."
An undistinguished entry in the vast library devoted to the French leader. Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Dec. 16, 1991

Even allowing for the destruction of the German WW I military archives during the allied bombing of Potsdam, the absence of studies of the German side of that war has been remarkable—a deficiency, however, excellently remedied here by noted military- historian Asprey (Frederick the Great, 1986, etc.). Though his focus is on Hindenburg and Ludendorff, Asprey deals with the strategy and to some extent the tactics employed by the Germans throughout the war. Some of this is well-known; much is not. At the outbreak of war, he says, Hindenburg was an obscure general already in retirement, while Ludendorff was the celebrated quartermaster general to the Second Army. The two were transferred to the Russian Front, and there Hindenburg made his reputation—or had it made for him—in the battle of Tannenburg. As Asprey reports, one of Hindenburg's staff, when later showing visitors the headquarters at Tannenburg, became accustomed to saying that ``the Field Marshal slept here before and after the battle, and between us, also during the battle.'' Hindenburg became a household god and, according to Asprey, scarcely more useful: The actual work was done by Ludendorff. The fame of the ``Duo'' expanded until they were able to dominate German policy-making, but while they had a superb machine at their command, Asprey says, they lacked any clear conception as to how the war was to be won. They accepted, for example, totally unrealistic estimates as to what unrestricted submarine warfare could achieve. And their ultimate contribution to Germany history was to conceal their own mistakes, and to give rise to the legend that Germany's defeat had been caused by a stab in the back—a legend that led directly to the rise of Hitler. Though his prose is sometimes florid, Asprey has made splendid use of newfound materials and given us the best account yet of WW I German strategy. (Thirty-two pages of b&w photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >