Best military accounts/books of the 7 greatest commanders according to Napoleon?

Jul 2013
1,003
America
As it says in the title, in your opinion, what are some of the best military books on Napoleon's 7 favorite captains, Those being:
1. Caesar
2. Alexander
3. Hannibal
4. Eugene
5. Gustavus
6. Turenne
7. Frederick

(Along with the best military books on Napoleon and Wellington and Marlborough)
 
Last edited:
Feb 2015
640
washington
For Frederick I would look into Frederick the Great:A military History by Robert K Massie. Regarding Caeser I would read the biography of him by Adrian Goldsworthy
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Even though it's the most obvious answer, Arrian's The Campaigns of Alexander really is the most definitive and in-depth account of all of Alexander's battles, sieges and marches, no matter how large or small.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,604
Ontario, Canada
For Caesar, Alexander and Hannibal I prefer the primary sources though there are hundreds if not thousands of secondary sources.

For Frederick there are a few books I use specifically for the single commander but others regarding the war and the campaigns.

As for Turenne, Gustavus and Eugene I'm really not sure.
 
Jul 2013
1,003
America
For Frederick I would look into Frederick the Great:A military History by Robert K Massie. Regarding Caeser I would read the biography of him by Adrian Goldsworthy
Do you have any experience with Theodore Ayrault Dodge?

And any recommendations on Turenne?
 

markdienekes

Ad Honorem
Apr 2010
4,875
Oxford
Dodge has a good Hannibal book.

Publius has suggested some good Hannibal ones, though Hannibal's War by Lazenby I think is my favorite and more detailed.


Stephen English has some good ones on Alexander's sieges and field campaigns.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,604
Ontario, Canada
So for Frederick the Great some writers I know are Jay Luvaas, Dennis Showalter, Reed Browning, Claus Telp, Christopher Duffy, Robert Asprey and Simon Millar. Look those guys up on Amazon :)

Theodore Ayrault Dodge is a new one for me. I should look into it. There are also a few German and French authors that I have heard of.
 
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Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,604
Ontario, Canada
Reading the primary sources written by Napoleon and Frederick are very different.
Napoleon's writings have that Italo/Corsican cultural creativity with a hint of the efficiency of a French education and the cold and calculating mind that only someone like Napoleon could bring, as expected he leaves few stones unturned.

Frederick's military writings on the other hand reads like a straight forward instruction manual. It comes off as the stereotypical machine like efficiency often associated with German culture. He says everything that needs to be said but does not often give his personal thoughts. I don't see any of the artistic expression which is infused in his music, poetry or administrative writings and philosophy.

So where as Frederick on the one hand can be read like an instruction manual and shows his understanding of military affairs. He is too reserved however and it is hard to really see why he thinks a certain thing other than because it is the doctrine he understands but not his most intimate thoughts on the matter. To such and such general accomplish such and such goal to the best of your abilities.

Napoleon's writings seem like a vast sea that are like his own thoughts. You can almost begin to think as he does and get a glimpse of the part of the iceberg that stands out above the water and maybe get a good impression of what lies beneath the water. He goes into quite a few details and touches a multitude of subjects in a single correspondence alone. Such and such general must do X, Y and Z. Furthermore these are the options that such and such general has, I suggest you take this specific option, failure is not an option and if met by such a disgrace then salvage the situation anyway. My plans depend on this which you must do so pay attention as there is no room for your failure.