Book Review: David Bell's The First Total War; Strategic Insights: v.7, issue 2 (April 2008)
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A review of: David A Bell, The First Total War: Napoleon’s Europe and the Birth of Warfare as we Know It. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. The comments below were presented as part of a round-table discussion of David Bell’s The First Total War, conducted at the bi-annual meeting of the Council of European Studies, held in Chicago on 5-9 March 2008. The outstanding features of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in the eyes of contemporaries were their scale and ferocity. The former quality has been fully captured by modern historians, but the latter has rather faded from view. One of the merits of David Bell’s fine book is that he has restored ferocity to its proper place at the center of what was going on in Europe at the turn of the nineteenth century.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights, Volume 7, Issue 2 (April 2008)