THE ORDEAL OF CAPTAIN ROEDER by Helen-Fransl  Hoeder

THE ORDEAL OF CAPTAIN ROEDER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Based on the unpublished 150 year old diary of a captain with Napoleon in the 1812-1813 Moscow campaign, now translated by one of his descendants, this combines a vivid, first-hand account of the retreat from Moscow with a sympathetic study of a humanitarian officer in an era of army brutality. Although CaptainRoeder, a cultivated, intelligent Hessian officer, loved war for its own sake, in his diary he writes less of tactics and battles than of the men with him and their daily miscries on the march to Moscow and in retreat. The real value of the diary lies in his story of the Grande Armee, which even in the summer of 1812 was being destroyed by its own corruption. Unlike most officers, Rosder shared the privations of his men, writing of hunger and brutal floggings, of dysentery, and of his inspired batman- a genius at looting. Roeder never reached Moscow and was caught at Smoleusk in the November retreat, captured at Vilna. In 1813 he was released and rejoined his family in Hesse.... Adding little to our military knowledge of the Moscow campaign but much to its social and personal aspects, this is a fine contemporary record with its dual interest for students of military history and devotees of Napoleona.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1961
Publisher: St Martin's Press