An Account of My Life: Aart Kool 1787–1862

Edited by Tone Borren


In 1812 Aart Kool was a young Dutch engineering officer in Napoleon’s army on the march to Moscow. Of the 600,000 troops in that infamous campaign, only 15,000 made it home. Aart was one.

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Twenty-five years after the campaign he wrote a vivid and engrossing account of his involvement in this setback for the French empire. A century later, on the anniversary of Napoleon’s defeat, his story was published in a Rotterdam newspaper. Now, two hundred years after 1812, it has been translated into English and is published here for the first time.

“These notes about my life were to be expanded at the end of my military career, with the many memories I still have. Unfortunately, a nerve-related illness makes this task so difficult for me that I have failed to do much. In rereading this material, and the many official documents I still have, I can imagine that my son, or one of my grandchildren, might find a pen to write up my history one day. I give my blessing from my resting place for this, as I assume this will not happen until after my death.”

About the author

Tone Borren is Aart Kool’s great-great-great-great grandson. He translated Aart’s account during a sabbatical, initially to make it available to his family in New Zealand.

Additional information

Dimensions 148 × 210 mm