Raymond Rudorff's War to the Death: The Sieges of Saragossa, 1808-1809 is a frightful account of a specific period of the Peninsular War. Rudorff carefully sets up the story by explaining in great detail the overall background story of why and how Napoleon sent his armies into Spain and Portugal. Rudorff offers several insightful reasons why the Araogonese people would offer such stiff and brutal resistance to Napoleon's troops, and be willing to sacrifice their regional capital city of Saragossa (also spelled Zaragoza). Ultimately Rudorff's explains the ramifications of Napoleon's difficult campaigns in Spain, and argues that places like Saragossa played a part in the overall fall of Napoleon's empire. Rudorff's account of the two sieges of Saragossa are authoritative and complete, often giving hour-by-hour details of the grim fighting on a street-by-street basis. Absolutely incredible detail that helps the book read like a fictional novel! However I feel this book's weakest points are that Rudorff assumes his readers have some working knowledge of military hierarchies and of 19th century heavy weaponry. He often uses obscure military words, maneuver names, and weapon names (like 24-pounder), Also I believe that Rudorff could have helped his book by adding a glossary of the people central to the story, Spanish cities tied into the sieges, and of the weaponry used. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the Napoleonic Wars (especially the Peninsular War), and for those into studying Total Warfare. By this I mean that War to the Death could be used as a military textbook on the history of modern urban and guerrilla warfare. Spain's military was almost never able to defeat the French by themselves; however Spain's guerrilla fighters in places like Saragossa rained down death on their besiegers, and tied up French troops for long periods of time when they were desperately needed elsewhere.
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Book Description Hamilton, 1974. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0241024498
Book Description Hamilton, 1974. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110241024498