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Download The Illustrious Dead: The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleon's Greatest Army Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Illustrious Dead: The Terrifying Story of How Typhus Killed Napoleons Greatest Army, by Stephan Talty Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (201 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stephan Talty Narrator: Stephen Hoy Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In a masterful dual narrative that pits the heights of human ambition and achievement against the supremacy of nature, New York Times bestselling author Stephan Talty tells the story of a mighty ruler and a tiny microbe, antagonists whose struggle would shape the modern world.

In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte was at the height of his powers. Forty-five million called him emperor, and he commanded a nation that was the richest, most cultured, and advanced on earth. No army could stand against his impeccably trained, brilliantly led forces, and his continued sweep across Europe seemed inevitable.

Early that year, bolstered by his successes, Napoleon turned his attentions toward Moscow, helming the largest invasion in human history. Surely, Tsar Alexander’s outnumbered troops would crumble against this mighty force.

But another powerful and ancient enemy awaited Napoleon’s men in the Russian steppes. Virulent and swift, this microscopic foe would bring the emperor to his knees.

Even as the Russians retreated before him in disarray, Napoleon found his army disappearing, his frantic doctors powerless to explain what had struck down a hundred thousand soldiers. The emperor’s vaunted military brilliance suddenly seemed useless, and when the Russians put their own occupied capital to the torch, the campaign became a desperate race through the frozen landscape as troops continued to die by the thousands. Through it all, with tragic heroism, Napoleon’s disease-ravaged, freezing, starving men somehow rallied, again and again, to cries of “Vive l’Empereur!”

Yet Talty’s sweeping tale takes us far beyond the doomed heroics and bloody clashes of the battlefield. The Illustrious Dead delves deep into the origins of the pathogen that finally ended the mighty emperor’s dreams of world conquest and exposes this “war plague’s” hidden role throughout history. A tale of two unstoppable forces meeting on the road to Moscow in an epic clash of killer microbe and peerless army, The Illustrious Dead is a historical whodunit in which a million lives hang in the balance.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Christina Dudley | 2/16/2014

    " About Napoleon's ill-fated Russian campaign and a military history, as much as an account of typhus. Interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tuck | 1/31/2014

    " good popular history of bonaparte's army and going to russia (where he got his ass kicked by everything, typhus, no food, cold weather, peasants, and of course lots of cossacks). typhus killed most of his army, not war. human louse, please keep the warm water and soap handy. ehhhssh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Don | 1/15/2014

    " The author makes a compelling case that rampant Typhus was the cause of Napoleon's defeat in Russia, not the weather. If his army had not been racked by Typhus they would have had enough troops to destroy the Russians at Borodino and force the Tsar to sue for peace. The Russians were the last continental foe. Had Napoleon defeated them, the history of the 19th century would have been much different. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Michael | 1/12/2014

    " Fascinating story of how Napoleon truly lost his army and the war and changed world history! "

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