IBRA News 03.05.2023 – NEW ISSUE and available for the first time at IBRA 2023: Hans-Joachim Büll: Napoleon’s Waterloo – Reign of 100 Days

(wm-pcp) The subtitle “Postal History and Historiography in Context” makes it clear that this is a very unusual book. The foreword by Klaus Weis, president of the Deutscher Altbriefsammler-Verein, also bears eloquent witness to this when he writes:

“I had the privilege of getting to know Hans-Joachim Büll as a postal historian who dedicates his research work to topics not many dare to tackle. Some of these challenges go back as far as messenger mail in the Middle Ages and the accompanying intensive study of sources, including the often indispensable archival work, is certainly no foreign concept for this expert. Hans-Joachim Büll now presents a publication of several hundred pages on one of his special fields with a complex treatment of the Napoleonic era against the background of postal historical relevance.

(Old) letters are contemporary witnesses – this is vividly illustrated in this work. The close connection between postal history and contemporary history illustrates interesting and individual facets of the events of the time, the consequences of which reordered the structure of states in Europe, especially by taking letter contents into account. The access to the collections of prominent postal historians favours helpful illustrations and the professional realisation facilitates an easy entry even for philatelists who have not been able to develop an affinity to the Napoleonic period so far.”

The result is 400 pages in which Büll covers a wide range of topics, namely the developments that have shaped the direct relationship between power, supremacy and postal dominance since the times of the von Thurn und Taxis. France’s annexation of the Austrian Netherlands, Holland in the hands of France and French rule on the left bank of the Rhine are meticulously described in their concrete effects on postal traffic. Chapters are then devoted to the conflicts between Prussia and Napoleon, the Dictate Peace of Tilsit as well as the Grand Duchy of Berg and the Hanseatic Départéments and their consequences for cross-border postal traffic. Others – this goes without saying – are devoted to the collapse of the Napoleonic empire in 1812-1814, the 100-day reign of the French emperor in 1815, which was followed by the Allied occupation of France until 1818. Such topics are also dealt with thoroughly and in a way that is exciting to read in terms of contemporary history, but in each case also with a view to the post, censorship and changes in the postal system. This is also impressively demonstrated in the last three chapters, which deal with the Thurn und Taxis interim period in the Rhineland 1814-1816, the Prussian postal service in the Rhineland and the Dutch postal connections 1814-1815.

Unlike many previous authors, Büll never treats all these aspects in isolation from their political and contemporary historical context, which gives the book almost a unique selling point. Impressive is the immense number of colour illustrations of covers, each of which is described in detail with a high degree of competence and comes from the collections of other renowned experts as well. If the author was honoured for his outstanding work in postal history with the important SAVO medal more than 30 years ago, today it is fair to say once again that he deserves this and perhaps other honours. The book is the proof worth reading.

Format DIN A4, 400 pages, in colour, hardcover, Phil*Creativ Verlag, Schwalmtal 2023, VP: 65 Euro (plus postage). ISBN 978-3-949591-05-1. The book is available at IBRA 2023 at the Phil*Creativ Verlag stand or by parcel order from: Phil*Creativ GmbH, Verlag & Agentur, Vogelsrather Weg 27, 41366 Schwalmtal, Tel. 0 21 63/48 66, E-Mail: faktura[at]philcreativ.de, www.phil-shop.de