What are the best books on the military history and foreign policy of the Second French Empire? (preferably English, but open to French)

Napoleon III’s Empire was relatively active during the middle of the 19th century. It was involved in the Crimean War (1853-1856), Franco-Austrian War (1859), and Franco-Prussian War (1871). There are definitely good books on the Crimean War and Franco-Prussian War, but just about nothing on the Franco-Austrian War, or the period as a whole. I find this period in French history fascinating. France was still perceived as the dominant military power in Europe, while also being regarded as a kind of “liberal threat” to the conservative states of Prussia, Austria, and Russia. This is despite the fact that Napoleon III was a dictator, and created an authoritarian state — even though he was actually elected into office. Lots of interesting stuff going on. I would love to read something like ‘”The Grand Strategy of Napoleon III,” or “The Grand Strategy of the Second French Empire.” Sadly, no such book exists. So I’m looking for the next best thing. There are a few biographies in English of Napoleon III, and I’m leaning towards the newest one written by Alan Strauss-Schom. Of course, I’m more interested in military history and foreign policy than the personal aspects of Louis-Napoleon, or the domestic and social issues that France faced during this time. Are any of the English biographies better than the one written by Strauss-Schom in this regard? I know there’s the Cambridge History of Modern France, but their book on the Second Empire doesn’t look like it touches on the military aspect at all. And I’ve already read A.J.P. Taylor’s *The Struggle for Mastery*, which I loved. I can read French (although not as well as English) so I’m *open* to French recommendations too, but I’d prefer English. So yeah, what are the best books that tell the whole story of the Second Empire’s military history and foreign policy?

#books #military #history #foreign #policy #French #Empire #preferably #English #open #French

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  1. Hi!

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