Colonel Jean Colin was the head of the historical section of the French General Staff for many years. He authored a number of books on the military history of the French Revolution, wars of Napoleon and the great man himself. He also oversaw the publications of many more in his position as the head of the historical section in the latter part of the 19th into the 20th century, as part of a further well-spring of military literature printed in the wake of the epic defeat of the French by the Prussians in 1870-71.
In this volume, translated by Spenser Wilkinson (then Chichele Professor of Military History of Oxford), he covers, in an elegant yet concise style, 13 of the greatest battles of European history. As he himself points out, he cannot cover all important battles of them in one tome; those covered are Marathon, Arbela, Cannae, Zama, Pharsalia, Bouvines, Rocroi, Valmy, Jena, Waterloo, Gravelotte, Mukden, and Lule Burgas. There is a slight bias in terms of the extent of coverage in favour of the more recent battles over the more ancient ones, but the book doesn’t suffer for it: the expert commentary of each is very illuminating.
Author — Colonel Jean-Lambert-Alphonse Colin (1864-1917)
Translator — Spenser Wilkinson (1853-1937)
Illustrations – 28 maps and plans.