Friday, 22 April 2016
Fifty Years Ago
1966 was a good year. Aside from England winning the World Cup it also saw the publication of a very special, indeed seminal book. I am of course referring to The Campaigns of Napoleon by David Chandler.
The man himself - examining a rather familiar piece of headgear
As a young war gamer in the early 1970s - replete with boxes of Airfix figures and inspired by Bruce Quarrie's Airfix Magazine guide to the Napoleonic Wars (not to mention the film Waterloo) - this book represented the Holy Grail of the wars of Napoleon. I always wanted a copy of this book but on my pocket money plastic figures and paints took priority.
The first time I acquired a copy of this book was in the early 80s which was kind of ironic as by that time I had moved on from the wars of Napoleon. My first copy went with a whole pile of gaming stuff during one of my 80s domestic upheavals and so I was bereft of a copy until quite recently.
The advent of Command and Colours Napoleonics and the celebrations around the bicentenary of Waterloo has made me look at the wars of Napoleon again beyond my lifelong interest in the 1815 campaign.
I picked up a secondhand copy almost at the same time as finding a copy at a boot sale for a ridiculously small price (since passed on to Mr. Fox) and had forgotten how good a book this is. There are a myriad of titles in print that cover the various campaigns in far greater detail but this book is the one that everything else taps in to. It may be dated in the light of recent research but in my opinion if you only ever acquired one book on the campaigns of Napoleon then you would not go far wrong by adding this to your collection.