Michael V. Leggiere, The Fall of Napoleon, Volume One: The Allied Invasion of France, 1813-1814. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 704 pp. Portraits, maps, appendices, bibliography, and index. $35.00 U. S. (hb). ISBN 978-0-521-87542-4.
Review by Ralph Ashby, Eastern Illinois University.
"Leggiere, in this English-language volume of unprecedented scope... focuses on the diplomatic and military events of the earliest part of the Allied invasion of France, setting the stage in the waning months of 1813. As well as restricting his first volume on the “Fall of Napoleon” chronologically to the last few months of 1813 and the first few weeks of January 1814, Leggiere specifically emphasizes matters of high-command.... The perspective in Leggiere’s book is at least as much from the Allied side as from that of the French. In terms of utilizing Prussian, Austrian, and Russian sources, Leggiere has outdone even Houssaye. The author has exhaustively researched German-language archives and correspondence.... Leggiere has scoured the correspondence of the French military leaders in charge of the initial phases of the defense of French frontiers. Indeed, the operations of the small French forces on the frontiers against the first advances of the invading Allies take up the bulk of Leggiere’s book.... Scholars and students of the Napoleonic period who wish to pursue further study of 1814 will need to examine Leggiere’s work. They should be encouraged by the fact that there are aspects and issues of the 1814 campaign that still need to be examined. Political and social aspects of 1814 remain inadequately explored, especially in English-language accounts. Military history from the soldiers’ point of view deserves more attention as well. Writers wishing to pursue further study of 1814 should also be aware that in terms of thoroughness and scholarly research, Leggiere has set the bar quite high.