Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Russia Against Napoleon
Lieven's account in Russia Against Napoleon could not be more different [than War and Peace]. He concentrates on the men who led the Russian Army to victory -- the young Czar Alexander and his close advisers -- and shows that they won because they got more things right than Napoleon did. They understood him better than he did them, and while Napoleon may have been a battlefield genius, Alexander showed greater diplomatic skill in bringing together the coalition that eventually defeated him. That was no easy matter, given the fear of the French that prevailed in the German lands, and the fear of Russian predominance as well.