The author provides an authoritative account of the problems the Prussian army faced in 1806, and after being disastrously defeated and their army practically destroyed, painstakingly rebuilt if to be able to take the field in 1813 against the French.
The author used impeccable sources for this study, including definitive German sources, including from the German General Staff, in constructing the narrative that explains both the defeat of 1806 and the resurgence in 1813.
"For any student of the Prussian army of the French Revolutinary and Napoleonic Wars this volume is a must. A worthy companion to Paret's excellent Clausewitz and the State and Yorck and the Era of Prussian reform, as well as Charles White's The Enlightened Soldier (on Scharnhorst) and Gordon Craig's The Politics of the Prussian Army, Shanahan's work is singularly noteworthy for effectively trumping the old Prussian legend of the Krumper.
The Krumper system was supposedly the method used by the Prussian reformers to build up a greatly reduced Prussian army following the debacle of 1806, where the Prussian army was completely defeated in three weeks by Napoleon and the Grande Armee, and the Prussian state was shattered. What Shanahan proves, using Prussian sources and archival material, is that the Krumper system was a failure. Reduced to 42,000 men by treaty in 1808, the Prussian fielded only 65,000 in March 1813 at the beginning of the so-called War of National Liberation against the French.
Further, Shanahan gives an excellent picture of the Prussian army as a whole from 1786, the year of Frederick the Great's death, until 1813, covering the defeats of 1806 and the Prussian army's deficiencies in leadership, training, tactics, organization, and administration that led to the disaster.
This volume is highly recommended and remains as a standard text, along with Paret's, White's, and Craig's studies, against the revisionist viewpoints on the reasons for the Prussian failures in 1806 that are the result's of 'new scholarship' from Prussian apologists."