Much has been written on Napolean's ill-fated invasion of Russia, but from the Grande Armee's point of view, their bold crossing of the River Nieman and capture of Moscow, and their eventual destruction by the Russian winter. In 1812: Russia's Patriotic War, Laurence Spring looks at the conflict from a Russian standpoint, using sources from over forty eyewitness accounts, not only from Russians, but from English, French and Americans who were in Russia at the time, most of which have never been printed in English before. These range from Tsar Alexander himself, to diplomats and spies at the Russian Court, generals, and Russian Soldiers and serfs who were caught up in the campaign. This book seeks to dispel many myths that surround the campaign, such as that the Russian Army escaped the initial French onslaught because of Russia's bad roads and weather; in fact, the Russians also suffered from these disadvantages. It also shows that while it is generally accepted that 'General Winter' destroyed the Grande Armee rather than the Russians, this is exactly what the latter wanted - and that far from being a friend to the Russians it killed almost as many of them as the enemy. From the staggering losses at Borodino to the nightmarish end of so many on the road from Moscow, starved, frozen, struck down by fever, these are eyewitness descriptions that will never leave the sympathetic reader.
Laurence Springis the chairman and editor of the Russian Army Study Group and fellow of the International Napoleonic Society. He is the author of "The Cossacks, 1799-1815," "The Farnham Greencoats," and "Russian Grenadier and Infantry, 1799-1815."