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Subject: Books recommendation - Europe post Napoleon, pre-WW-1 rss

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M@tthijs
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In my youth, history lessons told me about all sorts of event up until and including the Napoleonic era. Then there was a small sidenote about the Belgium Revolution. But the few lessons dealing about the period between Napoleon and WW-1 were about internal affairs: industrialization and educational reforms. And colonialism/ imperialism - so basically outside European borders. Europe itself, from that point of view, seemed dormant till WW-1, which was the next major subject.

As an armchair general, this was also a period I was not interested in. The flamboyant Napoleonic wars and the Blitzkrieg actions of WW-2 had a far greater lure. The little fighting there was from 1815-1914 seemed like one big dull infantry action with increasingly better infantry rifles. As far as there was military development in that period, it all seemed to happen on the other side of the pond, during the ACW.

Recently it started to dawn on me (better late than never) that from a military perspective, a lot happened in the period up until WW-1. The unification of Germany, the unification of Italy, Denmark slugging it out with Prussia and then Austria, and more. Battlefield action and naval action, sea battles including ironclads! This seemed to be an interesting period after all.

That said, what books would you recommend me (as novice on the subject) about this period or any specific conflict in it?
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Kris Van Beurden
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For the run-up to WWI, I can really recommend Barbara Tuchman's "The Proud Tower" (A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914).

For the Crimean war, no need to look further than "the crimean war" by Orlando Figes

For the rest: I myself am looking for a good book on the Revolts & revolutions of 1830 and 1848 (and also for a good book on 1870, especially the part about the Paris Commune, so I am going to bookmark this thread )
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Tegarend wrote:
For the run-up to WWI, I can really recommend Barbara Tuchman's "The Proud Tower" (A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914).

I strongly second this recommendation. A brilliant work.

Quote:
For the rest: I myself am looking for a good book on 1870, especially the part about the Paris Commune, so I am going to bookmark this thread )



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Helmut Hohberger
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I highly recommend Gordon A. Craig's The Battle of Königgrätz, a masterful account of this epochal battle.
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Kris Van Beurden
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Supplying War (from van Creveld) has some interesting things post-Napoleon, pre-WW-1 (but is mostly about Napoleon and WWI/II)
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Gordon Watson
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It's a while since I read it but Alistair Horne's The Fall of Paris was an excellent read, covering the Franco-Prissian war and the Siege of Paris in particular.
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Evan Edlund
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Tegarend wrote:
For the Crimean war, no need to look further than "the crimean war" by Orlando Figes

I haven't read that one yet, but Trevor Royle's "Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-1856" would be my pick for the list.

Also, joining the herd and recommending "The Proud Tower" by Barbara Tuchman.
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James
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I've been eyeing The War That Ended Peace by Margaret Macmillan. It is the right period. Anyone read it?
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Adam Pfaff
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Tegarend wrote:
For the Crimean war, no need to look further than "the crimean war" by Orlando Figes

I agree. It is a very good book.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Crimean-War-A-History/dp/125000252...
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Kris Van Beurden
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moujamou wrote:
I've been eyeing The War That Ended Peace by Margaret Macmillan. It is the right period. Anyone read it?

Also still on my "to read" list, only I thought it was about WW1, not the period before it
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Greg Sager
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This is an excellent book on the period. http://www.amazon.com/Art-War-Waterloo-William-McElwee/dp/02...
Probably available at your library.
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J. R. Tracy
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Douglas Fermer's Sedan 1870: The Eclipse of France and France at Bay 1870-1871: The Struggle for Paris combine for a very readable account of the main events of the Franco-Prussian War, including context and consequences.


http://www.amazon.com/SEDAN-1870-The-Eclipse-France/dp/18441...

http://www.amazon.com/FRANCE-AT-BAY-1870-1871-Struggle/dp/18...
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Michael Sommers
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Eric Hobsbawm's Age of Revolution, Age of Capital, and Age of Empire are supposedly good (I haven't seen the latter two), despite the Marxist perspective.

A.J.P. Taylor's Struggle for Mastery in Europe is a diplomatic history.

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Michael Sommers
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moujamou wrote:
I've been eyeing The War That Ended Peace by Margaret Macmillan. It is the right period. Anyone read it?
It covers the run-up to 1914. I found it a bit disorganized (a large chunk of the chapter on Germany was about Britain, for example), and too Anglo-centric (it starts out by spending a great deal of time on the naval rivalry, and only gets to the Balkans late in the book, and somewhat grudgingly at that).
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James Lowry
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I haven't read it, but Citino's The Quest for Decisive Victory seems very interesting.
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HERMANN LUTTMANN
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My favorite is David Ascoli's "Day of Battle" on the battles of Mars-La-Tour and Gravelotte-St. Privat. He has a very unique and fun writing style and the book is very informative.
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Alan Sutton
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domus_ludorum wrote:
It's a while since I read it but Alistair Horne's The Fall of Paris was an excellent read, covering the Franco-Prissian war and the Siege of Paris in particular.

You are right with this one. This is particularly good on the commune and the events in Paris after the war finished.

Another good one is "Europe after Napoleon" by David Thomson. This was the standard work on the subject for many years I think, at least in England.

For Crimea, "The Vainglorious War" by AJ Barker is very good too.

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Paul Procyk
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When you need a break from the non-fiction recommendations you may want to try George McDonald Fraser's Flashman Series.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Paget_Flashman

Flashman is a coward, lecher, and ex-public school bully. His meagre talents amount to skill with languages and horsemanship. However this is sufficient to avoid being killed and get himself covered in unearned glory. His career with the British army spans about sixty years starting with the disaster in Afghanistan, in 1842.

Always entertaining and with copious historical footnotes. I started reading these books in my teenage years and they encouraged me to start reading non-fiction history.
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Christina Kahrl
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A hearty amen on Ascoli's "Day of Battle." I'd also recommend Terry Brighton's "Hell Riders" (if you want some Charge of the Light Brigade-related detail & depression), Echavarria's "After Clausewitz," Herrmann's "The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War," Menning's "Bayonets Before Bullets," Rothenberg's "The Army of Francis Joseph," Showalter's "The Wars of German Unification," Sondhaus' "Architect of the Apocalypse," and Wawro's "The Austro-Prussian War."

I'd save your money where Macmillan's concerned. If you're interested in the run-up to the war, pick up Christopher Clark's "The Sleepwalkers."

Edit: An equally hearty amen on all things Flashman, a guilty pleasure worth indulging.
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Alan Sutton
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zuludawn wrote:





Thank you for this suggestion. I have just ordered it.

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_Kael_ wrote:
In my youth, history lessons told me about all sorts of event up until and including the Napoleonic era. Then there was a small sidenote about the Belgium Revolution. But the few lessons dealing about the period between Napoleon and WW-1 were about internal affairs: industrialization and educational reforms. And colonialism/ imperialism - so basically outside European borders. Europe itself, from that point of view, seemed dormant till WW-1, which was the next major subject.

As an armchair general, this was also a period I was not interested in. The flamboyant Napoleonic wars and the Blitzkrieg actions of WW-2 had a far greater lure. The little fighting there was from 1815-1914 seemed like one big dull infantry action with increasingly better infantry rifles. As far as there was military development in that period, it all seemed to happen on the other side of the pond, during the ACW.

Recently it started to dawn on me (better late than never) that from a military perspective, a lot happened in the period up until WW-1. The unification of Germany, the unification of Italy, Denmark slugging it out with Prussia and then Austria, and more. Battlefield action and naval action, sea battles including ironclads! This seemed to be an interesting period after all.

That said, what books would you recommend me (as novice on the subject) about this period or any specific conflict in it?

This book covers a wider period than just the 19th century but the meat of the book covers just the sort of stuff you are looking for, and the rise of Prussian militarism in the period in question, is given detailed coverage. Highly recommended.




This one I haven't read but looks pretty good...


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