With the approach of the holiday season, Packing and Shipping has convinced me to launch the first-ever Napoleon Books holiday sale. On offer are reduced prices for two of our best sellers, Napoleon’s Triumph and Napoleon 1813: Decision at Bautzen. Both books are reduced by $10.00. To be clear, if you purchase both, you will save twenty dollars (discounts to be applied at checkout). Also, we have eight copies of Masson’s Napoleon’s Cavalry left and they too are on offer for ten dollars off. Napoleon’s Cavalry is not on the website, so if interested, contact us at [email protected] and we will send you an invoice. Our holiday sale will extend until January 1, 2016 (or until we run out of stock.)
On a personal note, I recently achieved a lifetime goal of visiting the Peninsular battlefields so vividly described by Jac Weller in his “Wellington in the Peninsula.” As a very young man I would leaf through Weller’s book, complete with battlefield photos, and dream of visiting. Last month, Roberta (known to you all as “Packing and Shipping”) and I flew to Lisbon where we met my old friend and 1807 co-author, Ralph Reinertsen. Together we toured the fields associated with the 1808-1812 campaigns.
We followed the approach of first locating the rival commanders’ vantage points, and then considering what they could see. We had a ball and learned a great deal. A few observations: almost every map we had previously seen is either erroneous or misleading. Consequently, almost every account from Oman/Fortescue forward is flawed. I realize that is a big statement and probably sounds arrogant. But standing on the actual ground with multiple maps in hand, hiking to Junot’s headquarters on the ridge above Vimeiro, or eating a picnic lunch atop the Greater Arapiles in company with Marmont’s memoirs, provokes many questions.
Some of you have already asked if I am intending to write a book about any of this. I went there with the belief that previous books had already covered this fascinating topic. Now I am no longer so sure. I have little doubt that virtually all British sources have been discovered by the plethora of writers who celebrate the feats of the British Army. It seems that the French archives have been far less utilized. I know from my own research there that the French archivists can present vexing challenges. I do not know how much relevant, untapped information exists. So the answer is, I don’t know. I think I have another Napoleonic book in me, but whether it’s Bonaparte in Italy (a cherished interest ever since Roberta and I spent our honeymoon touring the fields), Napoleon versus Prussia 1806, or the Peninsula is not yet known. Feel free to send us your recommendations. In the meantime, a photo montage of the Peninsula fields is now on the site.
Also new on the site is a new essay, “Napoleon: A Great Captain.” This resulted from a publisher’s request to participate in a forthcoming book that will use a “for and against” approach to examine military controversies. Given the offer, perhaps the more interesting ‘side’ would be against Napoleon. But in good conscience, I could not go there. Originally I was told to make my case in some 2,000 words (ridiculous!). Then 1,200 words (more ridiculous!). You will find my ‘long version’ and hopefully it will stimulate some thought.
As we prepare the farm for the coming winter, we again thank you for your support and wish you and yours health and happiness.
James R. Arnold