Book Review:
Napoleon's Campaigns in Italy

By Phillip Haythornthwaite
Artwork by Richard Hook

Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to fame was largely due to his stunning campaign against the Austrians and their allies in Italy in 1796.

He took a demoralised revolutionary army, filled it with fire and led it into military legend.

Osprey's Napoleon's Campaigns in Italy, gives an in-depth coverage of the 1796 campaign in an easy-to-follow way.

Napoleonic expert Phillip Haythornthwaite follows the ragtag army for march after march, explaining the situations it found itself in and the battles that showed Bonaparte to be a man of destiny.

There are five maps of the main campaigning regions, more than 30 black-and-white portraits and battle images, and an order of battle for Marengo.

Richard Hook's eight pages of plates are just terrific. He brings a life-like quality to the troops and their faces are almost photos. It should be said, however, that his portrait of Bonaparte looks like no other image I have seen of the French leader.

The uniforms themselves are highly detailed, as are the information pages that accompany them, and there is no doubt that every torn pair of pants, muddy boot and waxed moustache will give you the best idea of how the opposing armies looked up-close.

If you need to find out about this period in Bonaparte's career then Napoleon's Campaigns in Italy is the most accessible and visually interesting way to do it.

- Richard Moore


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