However, all was not as well with Napoleon's Empire as it appeared. Wellington's unbeaten army in Spain forced Napoleon to leave a crucial number of troops there.The majority of the Grand Armee was made up of unwilling German and Austrian allies. Russia may have been backward but its vast distances, large population and bitter winters had proved the undoing of earlier would-be conquerors.
The Battle of Borodino proved to be the centerpiece of an unprecedented human drama, as Napoleon battled internal treachery, an unskilled but obstinate Russian resistance, and the approach of winter in a gamble to conquer a continent in a single bold stroke.
Digby Smith has used eyewitness accounts extensively to emphasize the human factor in a massive struggle of the past'. Photos, maps and diagrams add clarity to a complex campaign.