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Napoleon’s Imperial Guard

Napoleon’s Imperial Guard

Paul L Dawson
ARRSE Rating
2 Mushroom Heads
I am publishing this review with a lot of support from Mr. GRB, who has spent many years studying the Uniforms of the Napoleonic Era, creating and painting models of them, which I am not allowed to dust for fear that I may damage them.

It’s a nice hardback, printed on quality paper, with lots of pictures, and surprisingly includes lists and tables of clothing issued by the stores, which were obviously not proper stores, as they issued things. In addition to the plates showing items on display in the well known collection of uniforms in Les Invalides, many are taken from private collections, which will have been unseen by the majority of modellers.

The book will appeal to people who are interested in the minute detail of the uniforms made, issued and worn in this period. It seems to concentrate on quantities and inventories of equipment and fabric year by year, and minute detail of tiny changes to uniform codes from year to year as well as the changes to contracts and suppliers to address the costs of uniforms. The number of inventories of QM Stores is vast, so if your interest is in what the blanket stackers were up to, this is the book for you.

Himself was a little disappointed that there isn’t more about the history of the regiments and their exploits. However it does contain some useful insights into the exploits of certain named officers in some of the regiments.

There are also a few examples poor proof-reading/editing. For example there's at least one picture with a caption which is not relevant to it or indeed a picture on any nearby page. Tellingly, the blurb on the inside of the dustjacket has been cut and pasted from the author's previous book, which looked at uniforms of the Infantry. That's a basic error which a good proof-reader would have spotted. There are others, but one doesn't want to be petty.

By and large, it's a nice compact volume, for dipping into rather than reading from start to finish. He thinks it might appeal to military modellers, students of the period and followers of the Grande Armee if they can’t get hold of the Osprey books on the subject.

To summarise, the author has done a huge amount of work, research and tabulation, then seemingly chucked it all into a nice book, without really considering the structure or the target audience or getting it properly edited and proof-read. The mushroom heads are awarded for the research and the nice picture plates.

Himself's recommendation? Buy the Osprey books instead if you are a keen modeller.

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