Napoleon’s Imperial Guard Uniforms and Equipment, Vol II, The Cavalry

Published: January 18th, 2021     
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Author: Paul L. Dawson
Reviewed by: Marc K. Blackburn - IPMS# 42892
Company: Frontline Books
ISBN #: 9781526708960
Other Publication Information: Hardback, 100 illustrations,
Price: $59.00
Product / Stock #: NA
Product provided by: Casemate Publishers

This the second volume in a series devoted to the uniforms and equipment of Napoleon's Imperial Guard. The first volume concentrated on the Infantry and I have not seen it. This volume focuses on the cavalry. The Imperial Guard, as the name suggests, was Napoleon's personal guard that expanded into the elite regiments of the French Army. The material culture of the military through the ages has always attracted buffs, historians, and modelers. The author, rather than relying on secondary sources has dipped into archives and museum collections to understand the nitty gritty details, in particular colors and construction. As the author points out, despite the evidence that does exist, in many cases, we will never know many of the details that made up the uniforms of Napoleon's elite guard. I can only assume that the first volume is a similar layout.

The book has thirteen chapters that cover the various cavalry regiments - Grenadiers-a-Cheval, Chasseurs-a-Cheval, the Mamelukes, Empress Dragoons, Polish Lancers, Dutch Lancers, Lithuanian Lancers, and the various logistical trains. There are contemporary color prints and paintings, color photographs of uniform parts, and color plates by Keith Rocco. Even with the color shifts that can sometime happen in the printing process, the illustrations are perfection. The author admits that are more questions than answers in terms of color palettes, but what does survive provides plenty of evidence.

The book was written by a historian and archaeologist who understands nineteenth century material culture. For those who are historians of military material culture, it is a well-researched work that seems definitive. For the modeler, of course that means figure painters, should be a boon in terms of information.

My thanks to IPMS and Casemate Publications for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

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