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The Franco-Prussian War
The German Conquest of France in 1870–1871


  • Author: Geoffrey Wawro, United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island
  • Date Published: May 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521617437

£ 21.99

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About the Authors
  • The Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1 violently changed the course of European History. Alarmed by Bismarck's territorial ambitions and the Prussian army's crushing defeats of Denmark in 1864 and Austria in 1866, French Emperor Napoleon III vowed to bring Prussia to heel. Digging into many European and American archives for the first time, Geoffrey Wawro's The Franco-Prussian War describes the war that followed in thrilling detail. While the armies mobilized in July 1870, the conflict appeared 'too close to call'. Prussia and its German allies overwhelmingly outnumbered the French. But Marshal Achille Bazaine's grognards ('old grumblers') were the stuff of legend, the most resourceful, battle-hardened, sharp-shooting troops in Europe. From the political intrigues that began and ended the war to the bloody battles at Gravelotte and Sedan and the last murderous fights on the Loire and in Paris, this is a stunning, authoritative history of the Franco-Prussian War.

    • Miltary history at its best, with vivid accounts of battle
    • Written by an esteemed historian and television personality
    • Spans the period between 1815 and 1914
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a clear reminder that military history still needs lively and well researched accounts of wars and campaigns … what Wawro has done is to provide a history of the war which exploits to the full the available archive material. With consummate skill he has woven together diplomatic developments before and during the war, the decisions and motives of the key political and military figures on both sides, and military operations with detailed accounts of the fighting in the different battles … Part of the value of this book is that the movements of hundreds of thousands of troops are explained clearly, while the battles are brought to life through the diary and memoir material the author exploits … In addition to its highly readable style, another merit of The Franco-Prussian War is that its author has managed to pack so much material into the 314 pages of text without ever slackening the pace of his narrative … Wawro has written not only an extremely good book, but one which will quickly take its place as the standard single-volume account … university teachers will probably prefer to recommend Wawro's book to their undergraduates. Geoffrey Wawro is to be congratulated on his Franco-Prussian War. It deserves to be in the library of everyone interested in German, French, and European military history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.' German Historical Institute London

    'His skills as a battle historian are patent. He has a grasp both of detail and outline. His prose is crisp and clear. He constantly enlivens the technical analysis with the worm's-eye perspectives of the soldiers - a great attraction of the book.' Time Literary Supplement

    'Wawro's account of the conflict is brief, to the point and extremely well written … While not neglecting the general picture, Wawro obviously enjoys presenting details of battlefield events, and this is also where his account really adds a new twist that was largely missing from earlier histories of the war … Wawro's history of The Franco-Prussian War has all the ingredients to make it the relevant account of this conflict for the English-speaking world for some decades …'. War in History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521617437
    • length: 346 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 154 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 13 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Causes of the Franco-Prussian War
    2. The armies in 1870
    3. Mobilization for war
    4. Wissembourg and Spicheren
    5. Froeschwiller
    6. Mars-la-Tour
    7. Gravelotte
    8. The road to Sedan
    9. Sedan
    10. France on the brink
    11. France falls
    12. The peace.

  • Author

    Geoffrey Wawro, United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island
    Geoffrey Wawro is Professor of Strategic Studies at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. His previously published books include The Austro-Prussian War (Cambridge, 1996) and Warfare and Society in Europe, 1792–1914 (2000). He is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including the Austrian Cultural Institute Prize and the Society for Military History Moncado Prize for Excellence in the Writing of Military History. In 2002, he shared a New Orleans Press Club Award for the live NBC/History Channel coverage of the parade and opening of the D-Day Museum Pacific Wing. He is also the host and anchor of the History Channel's Hardcover History, a weekly interview show with leading historians, statesmen, and journalists.

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