Book Review:
Larrey: Surgeon to Napoleon's Imperial Guard

By Robert Richardson


A true hero of the Napoleonic Wars was not a soldier, but a devoted surgeon to thousands of maimed and injured soldiers.

Dominique Larrey was a hero among heroes, but spent his service to France saving the lives of its fighting men from the savage wounds they received fighting for Napoleon Bonaparte.

But, such a man as Larrey also tended wounded enemy troops and, as a darling of the common soldier, was saved during the dreadful retreat from Russia by their love for him.

This extraordinary biography of Larrey gives a marvellous view of a living saint, who put his duty to his men ahead of that to his emperor.

Larrey's courage was even noticed at Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington who, noticing Larrey tending injured men in a dangerously exposed position, saluted a man "of an age no longer ours'."

Larrey: Surgeon to Napoleon's Imperial Guard is a rare insight into a not-often seen part of Napoleonic history - those who tried to save lives.

- Richard Moore




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