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Review for Wellington's History of the Peninsular War

Author/Director : Stuart Reid

Format : Book

In this book we find the four long memoranda concerning the Peninsular war which Wellington wrote. He only did this for the years 1808, 1809, 1810 and 1811; it is a pity that he did not do the same for the remaining years of the war. However these years are covered by the author in selecting some dispatches from Wellington concerning the major battles 1812 to 1814. This is the first time that this material has been brought together as a continuous narrative. It is supported by brief summaries of the careers of the officers mentioned in Wellington’s dispatches, by a set of 21 very nice annotated colour plates, and 8 moderately useful maps. Appendix 2 is particularly worthy of mention as it contains a breakdown of the Peninsular army from 1808 -1814. It goes into much detail even to the extent of movement of regiments between division and temporary commands of various formations.
What I found really interesting is the way Wellington writes about events, actions and other people which reveals so much about himself. The times he goes through the thought process in considering the for and against an action proceeding to explain why he came to the conclusion he reached. He constantly makes reference to the well being of the men and to the subsistence of both men and animals. He held to Napoleon’s maxim ‘an army marches on its stomach’ far better than Napoleon ever did. This is Wellington’s performance review of his own and his subordinates actions and we see a generous nature in his praise of them.
This is a very good read for the general reader and a valuable resource for the specialist. We highly recommend it.

Published by : Frontline Books, 2019
ISBN : 978 1 52673 763 2

Review last updated : 2019-08-31 13:55:48

See also : other "Napoleonic Wars" reviews