Napoleon Series Archive 2003

Bad History

People,
I've just finished Loraine Petre's 'Napoleon at Bay', his description of the 1814 campaign and it's quite the worst piece of history I've read in a long time. The problems:
- page after page describing the movements of this corps and that, often to places that aren't on any of the maps and often of very little significance in the wider scheme of things, he just didn't know how to select;
- a complete inability to describe troop movements in broad, easily understood terms;
- whole chapters on which he talks about the date "on the 15th, Napoleon advanced" without ever reminding us of the month;
- a lack of interest in what the battles he describes were actually like for those taking part.

Now I know various excuses can be made for the time he was writing in and the audience he was writing for. When I read his book on the 1806/7 Polish campaigns (a little better, since it actually has some battle descriptions) I sat at my desk with the Elting/Esposito atlas and relevant volume of N's correspondence open at my side. I couldn't have understood it without them. With 'Napoleon at Bay', I made the stupid mistake of trying to read it on a train rather than in a well-stocked library.
So what are the ingredients of unreadable history for the rest of you ? (Perhaps it would be wise to confine ourselves to books be deceased authors...)
regards
Mark

Messages In This Thread

Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Better History 101
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Re: Bad History
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Re: Bad History
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Re: Bad History
Bad History and Relativism
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: The history book I would like to have written
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Re: Rory Muir's "Salamanca".
Early Christmas
Re: Quotes
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Limits of Narrative
Re: Limits of Narrative
Feu de Joie for Rory Muir
Why Write History?
How We Grow
Re: How We Grow
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Right Angle
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Footnoting
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... Left Angle
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Only 'quite intelligent'?
Re: Only 'quite intelligent'?
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Audiences
Re: Audiences
Follow Ups or Spin Offs
Re: Follow Ups or Spin Offs
Re: Audiences
Re: Right Angle
Re: How We Grow
Reach for your Swords !
Re: Reach for your Swords !
"Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Re: "Full Monty" Footnotes!!
Long Footnotes
Re: Reach for your Swords !
Fair Points
When I was child, I spoke as a child
In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: In defence of Chandler
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: When I was child, I spoke as a child
Re: Limits of Narrative
The Pits
Re: Limits of Narrative
And Good, Durable History
Re: Bad History
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Re: Bad History
Re: Bad History
Good Military History