Book Review:
Marengo 1800

By David Hollins
Artwork by Christa Hook


Marengo is known as one of Napoleon Bonaparte's great battle victories, but he came very close to suffering a major defeat at the hands of the Austrians.

In fact for all intents and purposes the French commander had lost at Marengo - well, the first round anyway - and it was only the 11th hour arrival of General Louis Desaix that saw Bonaparte rally his men and launch the telling counterattack.

This title, Marengo 1800, is in the Campaign series from Osprey and is pretty much an all-you-need-to-know coverage of the clash of Austrian and French forces in northern Italy and the decisive battle itself.

Author David Hollins examines the opposing armies, from commanders down to organisation, looks at Bonaparte's strategy, his move across the Alps, the Austrian reaction and does so with excellent black-and-white drawings and etchings.

Most of the major commanders of both sides have portraits - very handy for military history fans who like to put faces to names - and there are excellent battle orders for the siege of Genoa, Montebello and Marengo.

The maps are exceedingly good and let you know at a glance the military situation at various stages of the enterprise and there are 3D aspects of the battlefield of Marengo.

Artist Christa Hook has done some superb and atmospheric scenes of key parts of Marengo that bring the battle to visual life.

In addition there is a description of the battlefields today and information and hints on wargaming Marengo.

Marengo 1800 is yet another first-class examination of a key Napoleonic battle and is worth every cent.

- Richard Moore


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