Corunna: A Retreat
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd (September 6, 2016)
In January 1809, as 275,000 French troops under Napoleon sweep across Spain, an undefeated British army retreats to the coast for rescue by the Royal Navy. Its commander, Lieutenant General Sir John Moore, has been instructed that, being vital to Britain in its struggle against Napoleon, the army must be preserved at all costs. But Moore has also been ordered to aid his Spanish allies in their efforts to overthrow a tyrannical invader. The impossibility of achieving both aims ensures disaster on an epic scale. Corunna: A Retreat by Max Benitz is the story of what happened on the retreat to Corunna, during which many British troops behaved atrociously in the towns and villages of Leon and Galicia, burning, looting and killing as they passed through. By the time they reached the coast, Moore himself and a quarter of his men were dead. Eyewitnesses and historians have disagreed about the retreat ever since. Was Moore placed in an impossible situation, or was he the architect of his own ruin? To attempt to answer these and many other questions, Max Benitz walked the route of the retreat in the winter of 2013-14.In this book he tells the story of Corunna, one of the most extraordinary campaigns of the Napoleonic wars.
Max Benitz read Modern History at the University of Edinburgh. After graduating in 2008 he took a local media job in Kabul and then worked at the Royal United Services Institute, where he focused on the British Army's role in Afghanistan. He is best known for his leading role in Peter Weir's Master and Commander. Max Benitz is the author of Six Months without Sundays: The Scots Guards in Afghanistan.