AUSTERLITZ by Claude Manceron


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Napoleon dominates this documentary recreation of the battle of Austerlitz on December 2, 1805 which found 150,000 men in combat. He comes off well in author Manceron's hands, since at this point he was not yet the fatuous megalomantiac portrayed by Tolstoy. (This book was originally published in French) Manceron builds to an hour-by-hour report on the trap set by Napoleon into which the Russians and Austrians fell. The French numbered 60,000, the Allies 90,000, but Napoleon both masked his positions and pretended to be much weaker than he was. Also, throughout the battle, he called the shots for where the fighting would take place... The hundred days leading up to the battle are covered extensively. There are dramatized scenes of-Napoleon with his staff; alone in his war room with his 7'x10' maps of Europe and card. index files on the enemy; of his 65 days in conquered Vienna. His love life with his mistresses and the Empress Josephine is satisfactorily reviewed, as is the status of his concurrent war with England (which was losing). The glimpses of the youthful Emperor Alexander's camp and his young retinue, in opposition to the older generals Kutuzov and Bagration, are excellent and the battle is well reported, amplified with excerpts from letters of officers and footsoldiers. But. the world, moving man who wanted to ""seize destiny, by the throat"" pre-empts the book as he did the century.

Publisher: Norton