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The Anatomy of Glory (Hardback)

Napoleon and His Guard

Napoleonic Frontline Books Frontline: Napoleonic Era

By Anne S K Brown, Henry Lachouque
Frontline Books
Pages: 575
ISBN: 9781526703415
Published: 6th September 2017

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Napoleon’s Imperial Guard was arguably the most famous military formation to tread the battlefields of Europe. La Garde Imperial was created on 18 May 1804, and from its origins as a small personal escort, the Guard grew in size and importance throughout the Napoleonic era. Eventually, it became the tactical reserve of the Grande Armée, comprising almost a third of Napoleon’s field forces. The men of the Imperial Guard were the élite of the First Empire, its officers and men the military aristocracy of post-Revolutionary France.

Used only sparingly, the Guard acquired a reputation of invincibility. Such had become its prestige, when the attacks of the Guard were repulsed at Waterloo, they signalled not only the defeat of the French army but also the end of an era.

In this magnificent study, unparalleled in depth and scope, the renowned French historian Commandant Henry Lachouque has produced a lavish and sumptuous work. It combines vivid narrative with valuable and unique uniform illustrations, including seventy-four full colour plates from the Anne S.K. Brown collection, to make The Anatomy of Glory one of the most important and most sought-after books on military history ever published.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.

The Anatomy of Glory is a fabulous history of Napoleon's Guard: it's men, leaders, campaigns and uniforms, illustrated with numerous colour and black and white plates.

The book traces the life, and death, of the Guard. The formation of every unit of the Guard is described. Here you will find fascinating details including foundation dates, cost of uniforms and pay; plus interesting observations and insights, all told in a witty, conversational fashion. Anne SK Brown did a fine job of translation.

It is well-known that Napoleon took personal interest in everything to do with the Guard. There are numerous examples detailed in the book.

The campaigns, marches and battles, naturally, form a major part of the book. They are told largely from the viewpoint of the Guard and its leaders. Lachouque’s style, using numerous quotes from memoirs, draws the reader into the action.

A book about one of the most famous corps in history is surely one for all Napoleonic buffs, but also people interested in military history, leadership and the creation of legends.

Read the full review here

James Fisher, Avon Napoleonic Fellowship

Quite simply an absolutely stunning publication, and one that is most highly recommended by this reviewer.

Stuart Asquith, freelancer and author
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