Napoleon Absent, Coalition Ascendant

The 1799 Campaign in Italy and Switzerland, Volume 1

Carl von Clausewitz; Nicholas Murray and Christopher Pringle, trans.

Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831) is best known for his masterpiece of military theory On War, yet that work formed only the first three of his ten-volume published writings. The others, historical analyses of the wars that roiled Europe from 1789 through 1815, informed and shaped Clausewitz’s military thought, so they offer invaluable insight into his dialectical, often difficult theoretical masterwork.

Among these historical works, one of the most important is Der Feldzug von 1799 in Italien und der Schweiz, which covers an important phase of the French Revolutionary Wars. Napoleon Absent, Coalition Ascendant covers the period of Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt and focuses on the Second Coalition’s campaign in Italy and their victories under Suvorov’s dynamic leadership that carried the tide of battle up against the French frontier.

Moving from strategy to battle scene to analysis, this first English translation of volume 5 of Clausewitz’s collected works nimbly conveys the character of Clausewitz’s writing in all its registers: the brisk, often powerful description of events as they unfolded and the critical reflections on strategic theory and its implications. Napoleon Absent, Coalition Ascendant includes the major battles of Trebbia and Novi and will expand readers’ experience and understanding of not only this critical moment in European history but also the thought and writings of the modern master of military philosophy.

About the Author

Nicholas Murray teaches strategy and policy at the US Naval War College. He is the author of The Rocky Road to the Great War: The Evolution of Trench Warfare to 1914.

Christopher Pringle is an academic publisher and a former officer in the British Territorial Army. He is the author of Bloody Big BATTLES! Rules for Wargaming the Late Nineteenth Century and a supporting blog.

Murray and Pringle are the cotranslators and coeditors of Carl von Clausewitz’s Napoleon’s 1796 Italian Campaign, also from Kansas.