In June 1812 500,000 men of Napoleon's army invaded Russia. Six months later barely 20,000 returned. The disastrous advance to Moscow and the subsequent retreat irreparably damaged Napoleon's military power and prestige and resulted one of the most celebrated catastrophes of in all military history. Digby Smith's new account of the grim events of 1812 is based on the diaries and letters of soldiers who survived, many of which have not been published in English before. They describe the deadly effect of Napoleon's faulty decisions on the lives of his men, to say nothing of the innumerable Russian military and civilian casualties his campaign caused.