Napoleon and Typhus

With a combination of archaeology and medical forensics, a new theory of Napoleon’s defeat in Russia [via HNN] has emerged: typhus, spread by lice. This is interesting stuff, an important addition to the history of the era, and highlights the role of disease combined with modern organizations, not to mention the role of luck in military affairs. I’m not convinced yet that the weather and supply issues can be dismissed out of hand, but you can’t rely on journalistic accounts of scholarship to give you a really full picture of their argument, especially the balance of causation.