Marengo: The Myth of Napoleon’s Horse by Jill Hamilton

Marengo: The Myth of Napoleon’s Horse by Jill Hamilton lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my History section.

London: Fourth Estate, 2000, (First Edition) Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white photographs; Facsimiles; Chronological tables; Maps [1];

From the cover: WITH A bullet lodged in his tail and the imperial cipher of a crowned letter N burnt on his left flank, a diminutive Arab stallion drew crowds to Pall Mall, London, in 1823. Sightseers came to gaze at the horse advertised as Bonapartes personal charger, whose career had spanned the whole of the Napoleonic Wars, who, to the sound of marching songs, drums, pipes and gunfire, had trotted, cantered and galloped from the Mediterranean to Paris, Italy, Germany and Austria, and at the age of nineteen, had walked three thousand miles to Moscow and back.

Since then, both dead and alive, this horse with the same sonorous name as Napoleons great victory, Marengo, has been a star exhibit in Britain. At Londons earliest military museum his articulated skeleton was seen by Queen Victoria and displayed as the horse that had carried his master at Austerlitz in 1805, at Jena in 1806, at Wagram in 1809, in the Russian Campaign of 1812, and at Waterloo in 1815. For over 150 years one of his hooves has stood on a gleaming sideboard in the Officers mess at St Jamess Palace. Today his skeleton, described as Napoleons favourite horse, is the sole equine exhibit in the vast Waterloo Gallery at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London.

In telling the poignant story of Marengo, Jill Hamilton shows an unexpected side to the Emperor. She explores Napoleons enormous regard for horses as well as why it was Marengo, and Marengo alone, who became part of the Napoleonic legend not Jaffa, Ali, Desiree or any of Napoleons many other mounts.

Horses for Napoleon were both utilitarian and glamorous. He used them for recreation, for speed and as majestic pedestals on which he appeared as a larger-than-life figure, but mostly as unstoppable machines of war. As he turned the ramshackle cavalry of the Revolutionary army into the most remarkable cavalry force in history he made spectacular use of horses in battle. But Jill Hamilton has uncovered a secret, hidden away for over a century, a secret which brings her inspiring and moving history to a devastating conclusion.

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Publishers review letter taped in at the first blank. Text complete, clean and tight otherwise.

Fawn boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 246 pages. Index. 8½” x 6″.


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