The Prisoners of Cabrera: Napoleon's Forgotten Soldiers, 1809-1814


219 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55199-083-0
DDC 940.2'77





Reviewed by Jerremie Clyde

Jerremie Clyde is a reference librarian at the University of Alberta.


Most books about the Napoleonic Wars deal with the great battles and
sieges. The Prisoners of Cabrera is unique for its focus on the 12,000
French prisoners of war who were sent (with insufficient provisions and
little means to provide for themselves) to the uninhabited and
inhospitable island of Cabrera for five years. Denis Smith is a former
dean of political science and the author of Rogue Tory: The Life and
Legend of John G. Diefenbaker. In this well-researched, balanced, and
readable history, he does an excellent job of chronicling the
prisoners’ attempts to survive (and, in some cases, escape), and of
setting their plight against the backdrop of the war raging in Spain.
The Prisoners of Cabrera may lack the depth and complexity of a
scholarly work, but it will likely be enjoyed by any reader with an
interest in the Napoleonic Wars.


Smith, Denis., “The Prisoners of Cabrera: Napoleon's Forgotten Soldiers, 1809-1814,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 20, 2024,