Egypt 1801 (Kindle)
The End of Napoleon's Eastern Empire
As featured on The History Shelf BookTube channel
The first campaign medal awarded to British soldiers is reckoned to be that given to those men who fought at Waterloo in 1815, but a decade and a half earlier a group of regiments were awarded a unique badge – a figure of a Sphinx - to mark their service in Egypt in 1801.
It was a fitting distinction, for the successful campaign was a remarkable one, fought far from home by a British army which had so far not distinguished itself in battle against Revolutionary France, and one moreover which had the most profound consequences in the Napoleonic wars to come.
In 1798 a quixotic French expedition led by a certain General Bonaparte not only to seize Egypt and consolidate French influence in the Mediterranean, but also to open up a direct route to Indian and provide an opportunity to destroy the East India Company and fatally weaken Great Britain.
In the event, General Bonaparte returned to France to mount a coup which would eventually see him installed as Emperor of the French, but behind him he abandoned his army, which remained in control of Egypt, still posing a possible threat to the East India Company, until in 1801 a large but rather heterogeneous British Army led by Sir Ralph Abercrombie landed and in a series of hard-fought battles utterly defeated the French.
Not only did this campaign establish the hitherto rather doubtful reputation of the British Army, and help secure India, but its capture en route of the islands of Malta gained Britain a base which would enable it to dominate the Mediterranean for the next century and a half.
This little understood, but profoundly important campaign at last receives the treatment it deserves in the hands of renowned historian Stuart Reid.
"...Reid tells the battles in great detail but with clear, engrossing, and lively prose in the best tradition of military history literature. The British had well-trained men against acclimated French veterans. The high casualties on both sides speaks to the courage of the men in both armies."New York Journal of Books
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This book, by an author who has written extensively about the British army of the period, is very welcome. Hopefully, it will bring an interesting campaign to a new generation.Balkan Wargamer
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If your goal is to do a deep dive into Egypt in 1801, then this is the best book around for that.NetGalley, Francis Tapon
A thorough and informative account of what happened in Egypt in 1801 during the Napoleonic Wars. Although I have an interest in the period generally, my knowledge of the military history is limited, so this was interesting for me, coming to it with little prior knowledge. However, there was enough information that I believe it would also be of interest to someone who was not coming to it as essentially a blank slate.NetGalley, Melanie Dolhun
The scholar will find it both useful and fascinating while those just interested in a lighter read of 19th Century British military development will find it both accessible and worth the time.NetGalley, William Harris
An interesting read regarding a little know battle between Britain and France during Napoleons rule. The first hand accounts were great and allowed you to feel as if you were there.NetGalley, Ron Baumer