Ségur’s account of what is to this day one of the greatest military disasters of all time is a masterpiece of military history and was an essential source for Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Ségur’s book also provides a vivid and unmistakable lesson about imperial hubris.
“Count de Ségur’s famed diary of Napoleon’s Russian campaign is not just another book about Bonaparte; it is the main source of a thousand schoolbooks, cartoons, legends, sermons and second thoughts for would-be conquerors…Ségur wonderfully evokes the opening scenes of the disastrous war…[he] was a war chronicler ranking with Herodotus and Bernal Díaz.” —Time magazine
“The influence of the work now made available in a new translation, was felt for many years. The giants of literature used it as a source book and as an inspiration…It is still the most vivid account of that apocalyptic disaster…its appeal is eternal.” —The New York Times (June 22, 1958)
“The book is valuable…a most entertaining and interesting work.” —The New York Times (June 5th, 1895)
“Ségur served throughout the Napoleonic era as an aide-de-camp to the Emperor, becoming a brigadier on the eve of the Russian campaign. His memoirs remain the classic account of the destruction of the Grand Army.” —Parameters, The US Army War College Quarterly
Military History Appeal: “One of the most celebrated debacles in all military history, it is the subject of a brilliant eye-witness account…extremely well written…Filled with exact observation and filled also with the grief and horror Ségur had personally experienced, it is one of the enduring classics of war memoirs. Its narrative of battles and routs, starvation and panic, is outstanding. Its close-up view of Napoleon vacillating and apprehensive, blundering into defeat, is fascinating.” —The New York Times (July 25, 1958)