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Austerlitz, Wagram, Borodino, Trafalgar, Leipzig, Waterloo: these are the places most closely associated with the era of the Napoleonic Wars. But how did this period of nearly continuous conflict affect the world beyond Europe? The immensity of the fighting waged by France against England,
Prussia, Austria, and Russia, and the immediate consequences of the tremors that spread throughout the world.

In this ambitious and far-ranging work, Alexander Mikaberidze argues that the Napoleonic Wars can only be fully understood in an international perspective. France struggled for dominance not only on the plains of Europe but also in the Americas, West and South Africa, Ottoman Empire, Iran, India,
Indonesia, the Philippines, Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Taking specific regions in turn, Mikaberidze discusses major political-military events around the world and situates geopolitical decision-making within its long- and short-term contexts. From the British expeditions
to Argentina and South Africa to the Franco-Russian maneuvering in the Ottoman Empire, the effects of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars would shape international affairs well into the next century. In Egypt, the wars led to the rise of Mehmed Ali and the emergence of a powerful state; in
North America, the period transformed and enlarged the newly established United States; and in South America, the Spanish colonial empire witnessed the start of national-liberation movements that ultimately ended imperial control.

Skillfully narrated and deeply researched, here at last is the global history of the period, one that expands our view of the Napoleonic Wars and their role in laying the foundations of the modern world.

Review


"Engrossing and authoritative" -- Brendan Simms, The Times Literary Supplement


"An outstanding book for anyone interested in the French Wars or ''Big History''." -- Albert Nofi, Strategy Page


"In this thousand-page tour de force, researched in over a dozen languages with 189 pages of notes, the exceptionally talented Georgian-American historian Alexander Mikaberidze, a professor at Louisiana State University Shreveport, revisits a foundational conflict in the modern world, the veritable ''world war'' unleashed by the French Revolution and dominated by the towering figure of Napoleon Bonaparte." -- Paul du Quenoy, American Conservative


"Alexander Mikaberidze ...argues persuasively in The Napoleonic Wars : A Global History that the deepest and longest-lasting effects of the 23 years of fighting actually occurred outside Europe." -- Thomas Ricks, The New York Times Review of Books


"an impressive reinterpretation of the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon (1792-1815) ... An outstand book for anyone interested in the French Wars or "Big History"." -- A. A. Nofi, NYMAS Review


"Far broader and deeper in scope than any previous history of the Napoleonic Wars, Alexander Mikaberidze has produced a true masterpiece. He proves conclusively how intimately interconnected the events of the great struggle were, not just in Europe, but also encompassing the Americas, Africa, the Middle East, Iran, India, China and Japan. He rightly argues that as an agent for social change, the Napoleonic Wars were the most important thing to have taken place between the Reformation and World War I. With his mastery of the myriad sources in multiple languages, Mikaberidze reminds us what first-class scholarship can do with our perceptions of an important subject when allied to excellent writing. This book will be an instant modern classic." --Prof Andrew Roberts, author of Churchill: Walking with Destiny


"An entirely rewarding history of a Europe-based struggle that "influenced the course of events across the globe."" -- Kirkus, Starred Review


"Through his mastery of international bibliography (facilitated by his knowledge of several languages), his expertise in political, diplomatic and military affairs (though we did not expect anything else from the apprentice of Professor Donald D. Horward), the extent of the issues dealt with and problems revisited that go far beyond the simple narration of military conflicts and lead us, without Manichaeism, to the very heart of the issues, through his accessible writing style (clear enough even for a mediocre Anglophone to easily follow his story and reasoning) and, dare I to say it, his profound knowledge of historical events, Professor Mikaberidze confirms that he is one of the great Napoleonic scholars of today. No one will be able to study the Napoleonic episode without having at hand this global history which fills a gap in the English-language historiography." -- Thierry Lentz, Director of the Fondation Napol on


"Already distinctive thanks to his insights from the Russian perspective, Alexander Mikaberidze in this very important new book provides a valuable global perspective on Napoleon''s war-making. This approach provides both an instructive narrative and a perspective from which the impact and legacy of the period can be understood." --Jeremy Black, University of Exeter


"At long last we have the truly global history of the wars of 1789-1815 that we have long needed. This book gives us new perspectives to understand this critical turning point in world history. A must have for all students of the period." --Michael S. Neiberg, U.S. Army War College


"Alexander Mikaberidze believes that the twenty-three years of war from 1792 to 1815 - which the British were content to describe as the ''French wars'' - cannot be fully understood unless we extend our gaze beyond Europe, to consider colonial ambitions, revolutions and power struggles across the globe. The result is a hugely impressive work of scholarship that slips seamlessly across continents, taking the reader not just to the steppes of Russia, but to the Balkans and Iran, Japan and China, the Indian Ocean, Indonesia, the United States, South America and the Caribbean. This is global history at its most exhilarating, a history of the Napoleonic Wars for the twenty-first century." --Alan Forrest, University of York


"This important, groundbreaking book reveals (for the first time in a comprehensive overview) the global repercussions of the Napoleonic wars. A must read." --Peter Hicks, Fondation Napol on


"This is an extraordinary work of scholarship. Despite the book''s length, scope, and detail, the narrative never flags. It is hard to see how anyone will improve on this account." -- Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs


"This book is a vivid, entirely engrossing history of that conflict, full of military shot and incident, full of choice quotes, full of vibrantly dramatic vignettes set in locations as far from Austerlitz as South America or EgyptEL. It firmly establishes a version of the Napoleonic Wars in which Bonaparte himself was in many ways merely the pebble that triggers the avalanche, and it provides unfailingly enjoyable reading along the way. It deserves to stand as the definitive one-volume treatment of the period." --Steve Donoghue, Open Letters


"This expansive work-the research and analysis, the breadth, depth, and detail of the narrative, presented in writing that will satisfy both popular and scholarly audiences-may very well be the last word that needs to be written on the subject." -- Michael V. Leggiere, istoryNet


About the Author


Alexander Mikaberidze is Professor of European History at Louisiana State University at Shreveport, where he is also Ruth Herring Noel Endowed Chair for the Curatorship of the James Smith Noel Collection. He is the author of several books, including The Burning of Moscow: Napoleon''s Trial by Fire
1812 and The Battle of Borodino: Napoleon versus Kutuzov.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
289 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

John Starman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book is a Masterpiece!
Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2020
Have not been overly interested in the Napoleonic era, however, after reading A New World Begins: A History of the French Revolution by Jeremy Popkin, (also an excellent book), my interest has grown. This book is truly a masterpiece in my opinion. Excellent and in depth... See more
Have not been overly interested in the Napoleonic era, however, after reading A New World Begins: A History of the French Revolution by Jeremy Popkin, (also an excellent book), my interest has grown. This book is truly a masterpiece in my opinion. Excellent and in depth coverage of the whole world during the Napoleonic Wars. The author kept my interest throughout 642 pages of narrative. I learned a great deal and learned how much this time period influenced the 20th century and into today. Highly recommended!!
52 people found this helpful
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What & Why
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well organized, authoritative, engaging
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2020
I ordered this book because of a rave review in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. I''ve just finished reading the entire book, which lived up to that review. The author''s knowledge of the subject is amazingly extensive. The book is readable and engaging throughout... See more
I ordered this book because of a rave review in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs. I''ve just finished reading the entire book, which lived up to that review. The author''s knowledge of the subject is amazingly extensive. The book is readable and engaging throughout and is well documented with 189 pages of endnotes.

The book''s very effective organization protected me from being overwhelmed by the complexities of simultaneous important developments in different parts of the world. In the portion of the book covering the period 1807 to 1812, separate chapters treated Napoleon''s Grand Empire, the Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia, the Ottoman Empire, Iran, India, and the Americas. Each of those chapters told an interesting and manageable story. I shudder to think how tedious and confusing that portion of the book could have been had the author elected instead to present but a single chronological sequence of events.

My only complaint is with the maps, of which there are 29. Several are so small that the names of cities are unreadable without a magnifying glass. Some maps include shading that is too dark to allow names to stand out from the background.
37 people found this helpful
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David Tooke
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The substance is great, but as a physical object ,this book is impossible
Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2020
If you are buying the hard copy, not the kindle, note that it is 935 pages, only 642 of which are text. One third of the book and 300 pages are notes, some substantive, some just cites to secondary materials. Not to criticize the author, but the publisher, but, In hard... See more
If you are buying the hard copy, not the kindle, note that it is 935 pages, only 642 of which are text. One third of the book and 300 pages are notes, some substantive, some just cites to secondary materials. Not to criticize the author, but the publisher, but, In hard copy, the book is (at least for me) physically unreadable. A classic "doorstop" people will buy and find they do not want to pick up to read. Publishers hate the idea but books of this size should be published in two volumes.
21 people found this helpful
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Illuminatus
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Monumental
Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2020
There is no shortage of histories of the Napoleonic wars but none come close to approaching this one in its sweeping depth and scope. Mr Mikaberidze describes not only the critical events in Europe but shows that these wars had global ramifications ranging from the... See more
There is no shortage of histories of the Napoleonic wars but none come close to approaching this one in its sweeping depth and scope. Mr Mikaberidze describes not only the critical events in Europe but shows that these wars had global ramifications ranging from the Americas to Asia. Excellent scholarship, fine details and refined reasoning, combined with well turned prose, make this new work not only the definitive reference but a wonderful joy to read. To quote the eminent historian Andrew Roberts, this is "... an instant modern classic".
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Stephen M. Kerwick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Awesome Work
Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2020
I just received my copy and scanned through it. All I can say at this point is that it’s a Herculean effort. 250 pages of detailed notes and bibliography alone! I don’t know a great deal about the author, but this would be a lifetime effort for most. Not to be... See more
I just received my copy and scanned through it. All I can say at this point is that it’s a Herculean effort. 250 pages of detailed notes and bibliography alone! I don’t know a great deal about the author, but this would be a lifetime effort for most.

Not to be too much of a pedant, but I often consider the type size for ease of reading. This book’s is adequate, but I usually like it larger. That simple couldn’t be done here without transforming it into a 3 volume set. Again, to make another pedestrian observation, this is a superlative value for amount of information contained at the price. Purchase is justified, if only to have it as a reference text along side David Chandler’s work. But there is a far better reason. The author’s writing is very good and reading for pleasure is both easy and enjoyable.

Postscript: Since first writing this review, I’ve read several more chapters at the other end. I can only describe it as brilliant. And it is probably the best value book I’ve ever purchased. I can’t recommend it too highly.
15 people found this helpful
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taxichess
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
international history of napoleonic wars
Reviewed in the United States on September 3, 2020
Most Americans when they think of the napoleonic wars at all think of the war of 1812 or waterloo. I have been reading about the napoleonic wars all of my life. Most histories of the period focus on the stars napoleon britain and France. Finally a history that reveals the... See more
Most Americans when they think of the napoleonic wars at all think of the war of 1812 or waterloo. I have been reading about the napoleonic wars all of my life. Most histories of the period focus on the stars napoleon britain and France. Finally a history that reveals the true international scope of the wars. I now have a much better appreciation of the dilemma faced by the German speaking people. They did not want to be a part of the French empire but allowing Russia to conquer Europe was not appealing either. A great
book.
8 people found this helpful
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DSM
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The Napoleonic era expanded
Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2020
This is a good, if somewhat exhausting, book. It reminds us that the Napoleonic wars had the aspect of a worldwide conflict. Thus by page 331 we have passed Napoleon''s last major victory at Wagram and are ready for the Russian campaign. This picks up a bit later, at page... See more
This is a good, if somewhat exhausting, book. It reminds us that the Napoleonic wars had the aspect of a worldwide conflict. Thus by page 331 we have passed Napoleon''s last major victory at Wagram and are ready for the Russian campaign. This picks up a bit later, at page 523! In between we read about conflicts in the north (Baltic), the Ottoman Empire and vicinity, Iran and the Caucasus, the Far East, and the Americas. The 50+ pages on the Ottomans describe a particularly convoluted series of armed conflicts, treaties made and quickly broken, and shifting alliances involving all the major European powers except Prussia, as Austria and Russia had borders with and competing designs on Ottoman territory, France had strong military ties with the Sultan''s regime, Britain worried about the straits and about the French, and so on. You won''t remember the details (at least I won''t) but you will gain a new picture of the Napoleonic era and its lasting influence outside as well as inside Europe.
4 people found this helpful
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Book Lover
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Global Overview of the Napoleonic Era
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2020
This is an outstanding book if you''re interested in the Napoleonic Era, by far the best I know of for its global reach, and perceptive insights into the reverberations of the era throughout the nineteenth century until today. The book I read, a first printing, is full of... See more
This is an outstanding book if you''re interested in the Napoleonic Era, by far the best I know of for its global reach, and perceptive insights into the reverberations of the era throughout the nineteenth century until today. The book I read, a first printing, is full of typos, shame on the OUP, but not a major hindrance to enjoying a major work of scholarship by young historian I hope writes more of equal quality.
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Top reviews from other countries

A bookworm
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A comprehensive history that just falls short of 5 stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 13, 2021
Wow... this book is global in its scale and for the most part achieves this aim. It begins with a description of how France fell into revolution and the pre-war general European situation really well. This high standard lasts, for the most part, throughout the rest of the...See more
Wow... this book is global in its scale and for the most part achieves this aim. It begins with a description of how France fell into revolution and the pre-war general European situation really well. This high standard lasts, for the most part, throughout the rest of the book. It is Pro-Napoleon, which sometimes works in its favour for it makes it more balanced to the English reader, making you look at it more objectively but this sometimes doesn''t quite work when he says that would Europe have been happier if Napoleon had won. I enjoyed his contention that Anglo-French aspect was just a continuation of rivalry between the nations that existed for over the last 100 years and this also ties into the approach of ''wars within the wars'', with all the smaller conflicts between nations. I also learnt new information such as Tallyrands services to Russia or nuggets. That said, I did feel that sometimes more information would be better in the text (or at least as footnotes), rather than tucked away in the 200 pages of endnotes. Moving on to another negatives, some maps in the hardback version need a magnifying glass to see clearly. It is though a good general history, covering lesser known areas such as the Baltic or Sourh America in enough detail to give them exposure and an understanding to what impact the wars had to the regions. This structuring of chapters, (ie Spain 1808-1812, Baltic 1807-11) works well but sometimes might confuse the ''lay reader. For example when John Moore reappears alive and well in the Baltic many pages after he after he''s died at Corunna. These detours to other regions means that by the time it returns to one campaign, you''re struggling to remember where everyone was left. I found it perplexing that he paints picture of the British being the global superpower but Napoleon''s naval buildup post Trafalgar was so close to altering the balance of power (if only he hadn''t invaded Russia). This is an example of where the author is incredibly strong on politics, diplomacy and military but less sure on the maritime aspect of the war. He then in next chapter says how British sea power was decisive in India and the approach they took there (defeating rivals, diplomacy and patrolling) is what they did in Europe then and for as long as there were great powers, such as with Wilhemine Germany a century later. Whilst the empire was important, nothing was more important than the British Isles. Lastly, on the negatives, it was equally infuriating and amusing to read his (as an Amercian based writer) interpretation of the War of 1812. It may seem that I''m more negative towards this book than I actually am. I really enjoyed it, learnt some new information and didn''t find any aspect of it dull, boring or repetitive. In fact, I would argue that the fact my main quibbles are with his arguments shows how engaging this book is. It''s a wonderful book.
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zeddy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2021
A thrilling account of the Napoleonic Wars. Well researched by a formidable historian. It would be hard to find a better and more informative account of this pivotal period of European history.
5 people found this helpful
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lee
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Boring
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 3, 2021
This is one of the most boring history books I’ve ever read. It’s content is just a load of names and dates, no flow to the writing at all
One person found this helpful
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Kevin R
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Huge book with lots of information.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 9, 2021
Really good read even for the well read napoleonic war readers.
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Nicholas Ronai
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must read for anyone who is deeply interested in this period of history.
Reviewed in Germany on November 7, 2020
This is a truly global history with an incredible amount of information but the writer manages to present it in a logical and highly readable fashion. I''ve always been interested in this period of history mainly from a European viewpoint but Alexander Mikaberidze''s book...See more
This is a truly global history with an incredible amount of information but the writer manages to present it in a logical and highly readable fashion. I''ve always been interested in this period of history mainly from a European viewpoint but Alexander Mikaberidze''s book opens up a completely new wide angle on how the situation in Europe had such a major impact on other parts of the world. The writer makes it clear early on in the book that, although he refers to the various battles which were so important, it is much more than a military history. It is the broad scope of his study that makes the book so fascinating. Absolutely highly recommended.
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