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The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book by Digby Smith

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The Bottom Line

With information on over 2000 battles, this book contains more statistics than you can possibly know what to do with. It's a fantastic achievement - easily five stars - but to be honest, how many people will want it?
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Pros

  • Astonishing and all-inclusive detail.
  • Assembled in chronological order.
  • A formidable achievement; expensive but worth it.

Cons

  • Figures may be disputed.
  • Very, very specialist!

Description

  • 582 (nearly A4) pages including bibliography and index of actions.
  • Published by Greenhill
  • ISBN: 1853672769

Guide Review - The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book by Digby Smith

Subtitled 'Actions and losses in personnel, colours, standards and artillery, 1792 - 1815', the Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book is a monumental achievement. Smith has trawled through almost every exchange of gunfire during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars to compile the ultimate in reference books listing in chronological order, not just the name, date and location of a battle, but the forces involved - including the commanders, their ranks and the names and types of units - the losses taken and the sources, as well as the occasional comment. In some cases Smith can even tell you the number of men taken prisoner and which unit seized them. The result is a five star book produced by real academic legwork.

Yet one question remains: who's going to buy this? If you're a specialist, a writer or a dedicated wargamer your library is incomplete until you have this substantial tome. But if you're a student, a casual reader or anyone else I honestly doubt whether you'll benefit; there are no narratives and no descriptions of the battles, just a prodigious amount of raw statistics. Of course, it pays to shop around, as I brought mine new for £10, but even at this price I doubt the average reader would benefit. This book really is just for the dedicated, but what a treat they have awaiting them!

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