The long and sombre chronicle of the Franco Prussian war is an episode that deserves further attention. English speaking readers have very little sense of what the war was like for its participants. Based on his own experiences, Patry vividly describes the bloodshed and appalling atrocities committed during the army advance to retake the Paris commune. He is also deeply critical of the shortcomings and follies of the high command. An elegant translation of a compelling text, written by a man of obvious charm and honesty, and equally obvious faults, this book is a joy to read. It ranks as one of the best examples of war memoirs written in any language.
Born in 1841 Leonce Patry graduated from Saint-Cyr in 1862 and joined the French Army. With a tendency to defy authority, Patry was overlooked for promotion, incurred mounting debts and was eventually dismissed from the Army. He saw brief periods of service in the 1890s and First World War. He died in 1917. Douglas Fermer was educated at Trinity College, Oxford and University College, London. He is 48 and holds a senior position with The Post Office in London as Head of Corporate Governance and Compliance. This is his first major book.