At the time of starting this post I'm currently retreating westwards across Europe with Eugéne, as Napoleon rebuilds his armies after the debacle of 1812, and prepares to take on his growing list of enemies, in volume three of David Chandler's superb Campaigns Of Napoleon.
This post isn't about in-depth reviews or analyses of these works or their authors, but is simply a celebration of a particularly enjoyable literary form. I also have Everyman Library editions - thanks mum! - of Gibbons' mammoth Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire, which, with a nod to such works as these, they decided to format as two sets, each of three volumes. A kind of double-decker trilogy!
There's a fabulous quote from Gibbons himself about his gigantic undertaking: 'Unprovided with original learning, unformed in the habits of thinking, unskilled in the arts of composition, I resolved to write a book.' I just love that! And I'm eternally grateful to all those who pick up their pens, literal or metaphorical, to tell us these epic stories.
Chandler and Gill both appear to fit the typical military buff profile, whereas Paul Britten Austin is intriguing to me because his other interests, in terms of published works, were pretty diverse (Swedish rococo poetry figures, I believe!). One thing they clearly all share, however - and who can blame them? - is an ardent interest in Napoleonic history.
Chandler was very prolific on both military topics generally, and Napoleonic era material in particular. I don't know much about Gill other than that he's written this trilogy, plus a companion volume, With Eagles To Glory, all focussing on the 1809 campaign against Austria. I was so blown away by PBA's 1812 trilogy, a masterful 'word film'  collage of authentic original accounts, that I desperately wanted to find more of the same by him. Alas, I've only been able to find one other Napoleonic book by him, entitled 1815, The Return of Napoleon, which relates the fascinating tale of Bonaparte's return to France from Elban exile, and the build up to Waterloo.