Greenhill Books: Napoleonic Library

Napoleon In The Holy Land

By Nathan Schur

Napoleon In The Holy Land cover


In this fascinating study of Napoleon's ten-week incursion two hundred years ago into the Holy Land and Syria, Nathan Schur brings to life the key events between February and May 1799. Using numerous eyewitness accounts, he examines the response to the invading French armies and French attitudes to the people and land they were attempting to subjugate.

In early 1799 Napoleon launched an offensive from his base in Egypt and pushed his available forces northwards into Palestine, capturing Gaza and storming Jaffa, accompanied by great loss of life and a massacre of the defenders. His troops, elated by victory, were halted by the determined resistance of Ottoman and British forces at Acre, 'the key to Palestine', and a protracted and bloody siege resulted. Napoleon, despite defeating Turkish forces sent to relieve Acre, was frustrated with the slow progress of the siege and eventually called the expedition off and withdrew into Egypt with a French army decimated by bubonic plague.

With details of the savage fighting, the progress of the campaign from the perspective of such diverse figures as French generals, British marines, Ottoman officials and inhabitants of the region, and a masterly insight into the thoughts and actions of the leading participants - including Napoleon, Berthier, Sidney Smith and Djezzar-Pasha - this is the full story of an inglorious but colourful episode in the wars of Napoleon.


  • Detailed account of Napoleon's 1799 campaign in Palestine and Syria
  • Eyewitness accounts by participants on all sides
  • Outlines the impact of the French armies on the region


"This volume draws on resources in Hebrew and Arabic that have not been readily accessible to Western historians ... against a backdrop of ever-shifting alliances and Byzantine political maneuvers, which Schur explains with admirable clarity, Bonaparte's motives for entering Palestine remain open to debate ... Schur raises the curtain on the Holy Land campaign and convincingly demonstrates its relevance to an understanding of Bonaparte and his time." - Military History(USA)


Nathan Schur lives in Israel, is an expert on the history of the Holy Land and is the author of a number of books on the history of the Middle East.

ISBN 1-85367-345-5 | Price: Price: £18.95/$34.95

Format: 240 x 159mm | Hardback | Pages: 224

Features: 9 maps, 23 illustrations


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