The title sounds dry. Dry like a good Martini.
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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