THE TRIAL OF MARSHAL NEY by Harold Kurtz

THE TRIAL OF MARSHAL NEY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The title undermines the temporal and factual scope of this account in which the reader is invited to witness not only the trial but the whole military career of Marshal Ney, the Prince of Moskowa, including his alliance with Napoleon, his support of the House of Bourbon and his subsequent defection to Napoleon on the eve of battle. Events, treaties, wars, are elaborately reported. As for the trial, the author agrees with Ney's own testimony...that his action was one of passion, impetuously conceived, though Mr. Kurtz does admit that antecedent grievances against Louis XVIII's new Army policy, the emigres, the treatment of his wife in court, had been festering. The tragedy of the trial is that it became a focus for the enactment of the Second Treaty of Paris which stipulated punishment to those with whose help Napoleon recaptured the throne of France in March, 1815 (though all evidence pointed to contrary). Here is a military milieu reported in with an excess of facts and omission of personality portraits. Marshal Ney and his contemporaries never come alive and the few attempts are feeble -- Ney is described as unambitious and modest and later charged with opportunism. Nevertheless, the descriptive features are noteworthy. A select market of fact lovers, lawyers, and tacticians.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1957
Publisher: Knopf