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Fighting the British (Hardback)

French Eyewitness Accounts from the Napoleonic Wars

Napoleonic Nelson & Trafalgar Battle of Waterloo Peninsular War

By Bernard Wilkin, Rene Wilkin
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781473880818
Published: 31st January 2018

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The British army during the Napoleonic Wars is often studied using English sources and the British view of their French opponents has been covered in exhaustive detail. However, the French view of the British has been less often studied and is frequently misunderstood. This book, based on hundreds of letters, memoirs, and reports of French officers and soldiers of the Napoleonic armies, adds to the existing literature by exploring the British army from the French side of the battle line.

Each chapter looks at a specific campaign involving the French and the British. Extensive quotes from the French soldiers who were there are complemented by detailed notes describing the context of the war and the career of the eyewitness.

Throughout the emphasis is on the voices of the lower ranks, the conscripts and the non-commissioned and junior officers. They describe in their own words the full range of warfare during the period – not only land battles but battles at sea, including the Nile and Trafalgar – and accounts of captivity in England are included too.

This original and revealing material gives a fascinating insight into the attitudes and concerns of the French soldiers of the period and their views about their British enemy.

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 Bernard Wilkin

About Bernard Wilkin

Bernard Wilkin is a Belgian historian who works as a lecturer at the University of Exeter, where he specialises in the history of the French army and the French people at war, from Napoleon to the end of the Third Republic. He has published on various subjects such as propaganda in France during the two world wars, morale in the French army and on the home front during the Great War. René Wilkin, the father of Bernard, studied and taught history in the city of Liège where he was born. He is now retired but continues to work on Napoleonic history from a French perspective.


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