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The Memoirs of Baron Lejeune, Aide-de-Camp to Marshals Berthier, Davout and Oudinot. Vol. I
Amongst the many memoirs of the Napoleonic period, there are a number that stand out not just for their historical value, but also for their actual written style; however, in this sense Lejeune stands alone. He was by nature an artist and is still famous as a noted painter of scenes of battles, most of which he witnessed. As such his scenes are like his paintings, filled with evocative detail. The narrative in Vol. I runs from his earliest recollections of a chance encounter with Marie Antoinette to his joining the republican movement and a battalion of national volunteers. As the consulate dawns, we find him as an aide-de-camp with the army of reserve in 1800 and fought at the battle of Marengo. He was present at the battles of Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau, Friedland, Landshut, Eckm�hl, Aspern-Essling and Wagram. A substantial part of this volume revolves around the vicious and protracted second siege of Saragossa, which even in the Peninsular War stands out for the courage and fierceness of both sides. His treatment of the siege and the forces engaged is the best of its genre by some distance. Lejeune was witness to some of the great events of the Napoleonic period, and moved with the grace of a courtier through them, his eye catches the human actors in his pen portraits beautifully. Highly Recommended.
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Pickle Partners Publishing
November 23, 2010
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