I really have to wonder at the level of obsession that makes someone write so many words on one campaign, and so few on anything else. But, Gill’s obsession is our gain, as his books are worthwhile additions to the studies of Napoleon’s campaigns.

This first volume covers up up through 23rd April 1809, and the aftermath of the Battle of Eggmühl. Before that, we of course get the general build up, and the political pressures that caused Austria to go to war with France, again.

That first part is very informative, as we are treated to the crosscurrents operating in Austria, and how a commander who didn’t feel the Austrian army was ready got swept up in tide anyway. After that we get a nicely detailed account of the initial Austrian offensive, and all the problems that slowed what was supposed to be a sudden, daring, lunge over the border into a fairly slow march.

After this, things break up a bit, as the maps in the book just can’t handle the job of backing up the narrative. There’s a good number of maps, but they are not horribly well-done, and often don’t make things much clearer, as it’s often impossible to find the places being referenced in the text.

That is by far the worst problem here though. The text and descriptions are great, the narrative is a bit slow, thanks to the fine level of detail being presented, but it does not lose coherence in spite of that. I will note that he also stays focused on the main theater; I thought he might borrow some from his earlier With Eagles to Glory to fill in what was going on away from the main armies and at least present the Tyrolean revolt in its bigger chronological context, but no. Obviously, it would have expanded an overstuffed series even further, but I could do with the further context. Even so, this is not to be missed by anyone with a real interest in the Napoleonic Wars.