The Napoleonic Wars have an all-important place in the history of Europe, leaving their mark on European and world societies in a variety of ways. In many European countries, they provided the stimulus for radical social and political change--particularly in Spain, Germany, and Italy--and are frequently viewed in these places as the starting point of their modern histories. In this Very Short Introduction, Mike Rapport provides a compact overview of these pivotal wars. He begins with the French Revolution and the French Revolutionary wars of 1792-1803, which set the stage for the rise of Napoleon, and then examines the Napoleonic Wars in two acts--the years in which the French dominated the European landscape and the years when an allied Europe fought back, leading to Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Rapport sheds light on the social, political, and institutional aspects of warfare in the Napoleonic era, and he provides a fascinating discussion of the ways and means with which these wars were fought, looking at the tactics, strategies, and weaponry of the time. Finally, he illuminates the significance of the wars, and their legacy, in both specific national contexts and from a wider global perspective.
About the Series:
Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.
Mike Rapport is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Stirling. He is the author of The Shape of the World: Britain, France and the Struggle for Empire and 1848, Year of Revolution.