'So brilliant that it is impossible to put the book aside ... A master craftsman at work.' Michael Burleigh, Sunday Times 'Zamoyski's book is a brilliant piece of narrative history, full of sparkling set-pieces, a wholly fascinating account of what must be reckoned one of the greatest military disasters of all time.' Sunday Telegraph 'No review can do justice to the scholarly integrity and human sensitivity of this book, or to the horror is describes ... "1812" is one of the greatest stories ever told.' Christopher Woodward, Spectator 'An utterly admirable book. It combines clarity of thought and prose with a strong narrative drive.' Daily Telegraph 'A gripping tale.' Economist 'The best non-fiction version to be written so far ... Zamoyski is brilliant at explaining what it must have been like to be a foot soldier.' Mail on Sunday
The Sunday Times bestselling account of Napoleon's invasion of Russia and eventual retreat from Moscow, events that had a profound effect on the subsequent course of Russian and European history. The saga of Napoleon's invasion of Russia and catastrophic retreat from Moscow has both fascinated military historians and captured the imagination of millions on an emotional and human level. 1812 tells the story of how the most powerful man on earth met his doom, and how the greatest fighting force ever assembled was wiped out. Over 400,000 French and Allied troops died on the disastrous Russian campaign, with the vast majority of the casualties occuring during the frigid winter retreat. Adam Zamoyski tells their story with incredible detail and sympathy, drawing on a wealth of first-hand accounts of the tragedy to create a vivid portrait of an unimaginable catastrophe. By 1810 Napoleon was master of Europe, defied only by Britain and its naval power. His intention was to destroy Britain through a total blockade, the Continental System. But Tsar Alexander of Russia refused to apply the blockade, and Napoleon decided to bring him to heel.
The brutality of the following military campaign and the importance of its ramifications on Russian, French, German and, indeed, European history and culture cannot be understated. Adam Zamoyski's epic, enthralling narrative is the definitive account of the events of that dramatic year.