Radetzky: Imperial Victor and Military Genius by Alan Sked - review by Charles Esdaile

Charles Esdaile

The Greatest General of All Time?

Radetzky: Imperial Victor and Military Genius


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Is it possible to discover a new military genius? It is with this question that Alan Sked, a well-known specialist on the Habsburg Empire, opens his account of the life and career of Johann Radetzky, the long-serving general who stood at the heart of the military affairs of Austria for the whole of the Restoration era and beyond. As few readers will have heard of him, it would probably be as well to begin this review with an account of his life and career.

Born into a family of the Bohemian nobility on 2 November 1766, Radetzky enlisted in the Austrian army as an officer cadet in 1785 and first saw action as a cavalry officer in the Austro-Turkish War of 1788–91. There soon followed the French Revolutionary Wars of 1792–1801, a

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