First Edition   ©2011

Napoleonic Foot Soldiers and Civilians

A Brief History with Documents

Rafe Blaufarb , Claudia Liebeskind

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-48700-2; ISBN-13: 978-0-312-48700-3; Format: Paper Text, 208 pages

By highlighting the experiences of common soldiers and civilians, this volume by Rafe Blaufarb and Claudia Liebeskind presents a broad view of the Napoleonic Wars not found in typical military histories. The introduction recounts the key events of the wars and how they marked a shift in the modern notion of “total war” and provides necessary political and military background on the issues of recruitment and evasion, the military community, combat and its aftermath, the homefront, and demobilization. The rich collection of memoirs, letters, and popular engravings -- from familiar sources such as German infantryman Jakob Walter to an account of a French woman canteen worker -- offers contrasting voices, some offered here in English for the first time. These documents and images explore core civil-military interactions, including foraging, plunder, sexuality, violence, eating, religion, and commerce. Headnotes to the documents, a chronology, questions for consideration, and a selected bibliography provide pedagogical support.
“This volume is impressive and comprehensive. It makes absolutely clear how the Napoleonic wars left soldiers and civilians alike vulnerable to pain and disaster. It highlights the many issues connected with the wars -- recruitment difficulty, conditions of soldiers' daily fight for survival, life on the homefront, and the myriad tensions among participants in the war, whether military personnel, civilian, or government officials.”
-- Amy Wiese Forbes, Millsaps College