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Napoleon's Expedition to Russia: The Memoirs of General Count de Segur

Chris Summerville

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European history

A first-hand account of the disastrous 1812 campaign

Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812 remains one of the greatest military and humanitarian disasters of all time. Within six months a million lives were lost, the largest army ever assembled was destroyed, and the Emperor himself transformed from the master of a continent to a fugitive.
General Count de Segur's first-hand account remains our chief source of information about this most dramatic of military debacles. From the Grand Army's first steps on Russian soil, to its miraculous escape at the River Berezina, this must rank as one of the greatest war stories ever written.
First published in 1824, it caused a sensation. The author, who had served on the Emperor's staff, dared to present him as a flawed genius, resulting in a duel with Napoleon's former aide-de-camp, General Gourgaud. The public blood-letting (de Segur was wounded) only heightened demand and it was translated into every major European language.

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