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The Battle of Blenheim

Hilaire Belloc

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I speak would treat the campaign as a designed preface to the battle. Had Russia risked such a battle and been successful, the historical illusion of which I speak would call the strategy of the advance faulty.

As we know, the advance failed partly through the weather, partly through the spirit of the Russian people, not through a general action. But in conception and in execution the strategy of Napoleon in that disastrous year was just as excellent as though the great march had terminated not in disaster but in success.

Similarly, the reputation justly earned by Marlborough when he brought his troops from the Rhine to the Danube must be kept distinct from his tactical successes in the field at the conclusion of the effort. He was to run a grave risk at Donauwörth, he was to blunder badly in attacking the village of Blenheim, he was to be in grave peril even in the last phase of the battle, when Eugene just saved the centre with his cavalry.

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Community Reviews

Hilaire Belloc had a knack for summarizing history concisely, hitting the most important facts in the least amount of pages. He discusses the larger causes and implications to the period as weel. He would probably find it hard to be published nowadays when his books only range from 100 to 200 pages

Excellent description of the purpose of Marlborough's 'March to the Danube', the detail of the Battle of Blenheim and the repercussions of the French/Bavarian defeat.

The explanation of the strategy and the logistics was very clear as well as the descriptions of the personalities involved.

Very reada