The armies from Buonaparte to Napoleon 1793-1815
Vincent Schouberechts writes at the Trait de Union 2022-2, the biannual Newsletter of the AEP:
This is as much a history book as an authoritative study of all the postmarks used in the different campaigns during the years of the French Consulate and Empire. Using many tables, all the known postmarks are listed with their periods of use and, more significantly, where they were used. Based on research in all the available earlier publications which until now have provided us with the only information we have, as well as consulting the finest existing collections available to him, the author has given us the “bible” for collectors of this fascinating and hectic period. The fact that it is written in two languages (French and English) will allow the majority of collectors to refer to the book easily. The detailed table of contents (at the end of the book) separates the various periods of Napoleonic power between July 1792 to November 1799. The periods of the Consulate and Empire follow, ending with the One Hundred Days. The author gives detailed information about each campaign, in each case with examples of postmarks used by the armies involved. The final chapter covers prisoners’ correspondence, which is particularly difficult to find. Each chapter includes illustrations and a detailed bibliography, and maps are notably plentiful. In each case the source is quoted.
When leafing through the pages of this book, the care is striking with which the details of the years of the ascent of a personality like Napoleon who left such a mark on European history are discussed. Each campaign and every battle are recorded for us with quite extraordinary detail. Drawing on a large number of contemporary letters, the author describes the often challenging difficulties of life on the ground. The personality of Napoleon is also revealed and, as we can see from the description of his childhood, his rather pugnacious character and thirst for glory and acclaim certainly had their routes in his youth.
Maurice Boule immerses us in numerous examples of letters sent by Napoleon which show his precise instructions for the day to day running of his Empire. The narrative of the Russian Campaign is gripping with the account of the hunger and cold that wreaked havoc amongst the ranks of the French army. This book will no doubt become the new basic source of reference for a large number of philatelists and will also be a book which can be read by anybody for its historical treatment which is particularly well covered and readable.
The 860-page book is impressive. It can be ordered on the MonacoPhil2022 website at a price of 80 euros: https://monacophil.eu/MonacoPhil2022_CatalogueOrderForm.pdf