The Illustrious Dead

The Illustrious Dead

The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleon's Greatest Army

Book - 2009
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Random House, Inc.
“Gripping . . . a compelling story of personal hubris and humbling defeat.”
—Jack Weatherford,author of the New York Times bestseller Genghis Khan and the Making of the
Modern World


In a masterful dual narrative that pits the heights of human ambition and achievement against the supremacy of nature, New York Times bestselling author Stephan Talty tells the story of a mighty ruler and a tiny microbe, antagonists whose struggle would shape the modern world.

In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his powers. Forty-five million called him emperor, and he commanded a nation that was the richest, most cultured, and advanced on earth. No army could stand against his impeccably trained, brilliantly led forces, and his continued sweep across Europe seemed inevitable.

Early that year, bolstered by his successes, Napoleon turned his attentions toward Moscow, helming the largest invasion in human history. Surely, Tsar Alexander’s outnumbered troops would crumble against this mighty force.

But another powerful and ancient enemy awaited Napoleon’s men in the Russian steppes. Virulent and swift, this microscopic foe would bring the emperor to his knees.

Even as the Russians retreated before him in disarray, Napoleon found his army disappearing, his frantic doctors powerless to explain what had struck down a hundred thousand soldiers. The emperor’s vaunted military brilliance suddenly seemed useless, and when the Russians put their own occupied capital to the torch, the campaign became a desperate race through the frozen landscape as troops continued to die by the thousands. Through it all, with tragic heroism, Napoleon’s disease-ravaged, freezing, starving men somehow rallied, again and again, to cries of “Vive l’Empereur!”

Yet Talty’s sweeping tale takes us far beyond the doomed heroics and bloody clashes of the battlefield. The Illustrious Dead delves deep into the origins of the pathogen that finally ended the mighty emperor’s dreams of world conquest and exposes this “war plague’s” hidden role throughout history. A tale of two unstoppable forces meeting on the road to Moscow in an epic clash of killer microbe and peerless army, The Illustrious Dead is a historical whodunit in which a million lives hang in the balance.

Baker & Taylor
Describes Napoleon's invasion of Russia and the outbreak of typhus that occured which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and effectively caused his defeat.

Book News
In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his powers. But a powerful and ancient enemy awaited Napoleon's men in the Russian steppes. Virulent and swift, this microscopic foe would bring the emperor to his knees. This sweeping account takes readers beyond the battlefield to understand the origins of the pathogen that finally ended Napoleon's dreams of world conquest, and exposes this 'war plague's' hidden role throughout history. A glossary of foreign terms, military terms, and place names is included. Talty is a widely published journalist and bestselling author. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Blackwell North Amer
In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his powers. Forty-five million called him emperor, and he commanded a nation that was the richest, most cultured, and advanced on earth. No army could stand against his impeccably trained, brilliantly led forces, and his continued sweep across Europe seemed inevitable.
Early that year, bolstered by his successes, Napoleon turned his attentions toward Moscow, helming the largest invasion in human history. Surely, Tsar Alexander's outnumbered troops would crumble against this mighty force. But another powerful and ancient enemy awaited Napoleon's men in the Russian steppes. Virulent and swift, this microscopic foe would bring the emperor to his knees.
Even as the Russians retreated before him in disarray, Napoleon found his army disappearing, his frantic doctors powerless to explain what had struck down a hundred thousand soldiers. The emperor's vaunted military brilliance suddenly seemed useless, and when the Russians put their own occupied capital to the torch, the campaign became a desperate race through the frozen landscape as troops continued to die by the thousands. Through it all, with tragic heroism, Napoleon's disease-ravaged, freezing, starving men somehow rallied, again and again, to cries of "Vive l'Empereur!"
Yet Stephan Talty's sweeping tale takes us far beyond the doomed heroics and bloody clashes of the battlefield. The Illustrious Dead delves deep into the origins of the pathogen that finally ended the mighty emperor's dreams of world conquest and exposes this "war plague's" hidden role throughout history. A tale of two unstoppable forces meeting on the road to Moscow in an epic clash of killer microbe and peerless army, The Illustrious Dead is a historical whodunit in which a million lives hang in the balance.

Baker
& Taylor

In a dual narrative that pits the heights of human ambition and achievement against the supremacy of nature, Stephan Talty tells the story of a mighty ruler and a tiny microbe, antagonists whose struggle would shape the modern world. --from publisher descriptioin

Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, 2009
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307394040
Branch Call Number: 940.2742 NAPOL TALTY
Characteristics: 315 pages : maps ; 24 cm

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FourEyes Apr 12, 2012

The title sounds dry. Dry like a good Martini.

k
kalio
Jul 26, 2009

In 1811, Napoleon Bonaparte was the undisputed emperor of forty-five million people. His French Empire spread from the Atlantic Ocean to the Russian borders, from northern Germany to southern Spain. He was a master of the art of conquest. True, Spanish rebels fought against his rule and Great Britain was still free, but Napoleon was still the most powerful leader of the day. Until, that is, he decided to send his enormous, state-of-the-art army into Russia. Utter and total defeat was in the cards for Napoleon for the first time, but not from the Russian army. No, Napoleon?s soldiers carried their deaths with them from the start?in a tiny microbe clinging to their gear called typhus. In The Illustrious Dead author Stephen Talty traces the fall of one of the greatest armies the world has ever and shows how one little pathogen altered the course of history. From the tsar?s palace in Moscow to the bedsides of stricken soldiers, and with the giant personality of Napoleon Bonaparte hanging over it all, this is a fascinating book rich in historical and scientific detail.

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