The Franco-Prussian War : The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871, Paperback

The Franco-Prussian War : The German Conquest of France in 1870-1871 Paperback

3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 violently changed the course of European History.

Alarmed by Bismarck's territorial ambitions and the Prussian army's crushing defeats of Denmark in 1864 and Austria in 1866, French Emperor Napoleon III vowed to bring Prussia to heel.

Digging into many European and American archives for the first time, Geoffrey Wawro's The Franco-Prussian War describes the war that followed in thrilling detail.

While the armies mobilized in July 1870, the conflict appeared 'too close to call'.

Prussia and its German allies overwhelmingly outnumbered the French.

But Marshal Achille Bazaine's grognards ('old grumblers') were the stuff of legend, the most resourceful, battle-hardened, sharp-shooting troops in Europe.

From the political intrigues that began and ended the war to the bloody battles at Gravelotte and Sedan and the last murderous fights on the Loire and in Paris, this is a stunning, authoritative history of the Franco-Prussian War.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 346 pages, 18 b/w illus. 13 maps
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Military history
  • ISBN: 9780521617437



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.

Review by

The work is a highly readable account of the Franco-Prussian War particularly interested in the conduct of the war. The defeat of France is not a foregone conclusion despite the general superiority of the Prussians in military organization, training, and manpower. The superiority of French arms (the chassepot and the mitrailleuse) cost the Prussians high casualities. But the French lose due to their poor leadership and inferiority in artillery. The ability of the Prussians to blast the French positions to pieces after frequently fruitless infantry assaults is their key to victory. Key also is the French ability to throw away almost every opportunity to exploit Prussian weaknesses and hunker down in defensive positions. Wawro also presents good early chapters on why the war occured when it did and the state of the opposing armies.