Wellington: The Iron Duke (Paperback)
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Richard Holmes, highly acclaimed military historian and broadcaster, tells the exhilarating story of Britain's greatest-ever soldier, the man who posed the most serious threat to Napoleon. The Duke of Wellington's remarkable life and extraordinary campaigns are recreated with Holmes' superb skill in this compelling book. Richard Holmes charts Wellington's stellar military career from India to Europe, and in the process, rediscovers the reasons Queen Victoria called him the greatest man the nineteenth century had produced. Combining his astute historical analysis with a semi-biographical examination of Wellington, Holmes artfully illustrates the rapid evolution in military and political thinking of the time. Wellington is a brilliant figure, idealistic in politics, cynical in love, a wit, a beau, a man of enormous courage often sickened by war. As Richard Holmes charts his progress from a shy, indolent boy to commander-in-chief of the allied forces, he also exposes the Iron Duke as a philanderer, and a man who sometimes despised the men that he led, and was not always in control of his soldiers. Particularly infamous is the bestial rampage of his men after the capture of Cuidad Rodgrigo and Badajoz. THE IRON DUKE is a beautifully produced book, complete with stunning illustrations and colour plates. Richard Holmes' TV series to accompany THE IRON DUKE will be lavishly constructed in four parts, and filmed on location in Britain, India, Spain, Portugal, France and Belgium.
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
Publisher and industry reviews
An astute historical analysis and a hugely readable informative narrative about Wellington's life from a shy, indolent boy to commander in chief of the allied forces that defeated Napoleon. The Iron Duke is shown to be idealistic in politics, cynical in love, a wit and a man of enormous courage often sickened by war.
UK Kirkus review
Renowned military historian Richard Holmes here turns his expertise to the story of the Duke of Wellington, a man regarded as Britain's 'greatest-ever soldier' in a beautiful book that serves as a companion to the lavish BBC series of the same name. The introduction pays tribute to Wellington, and reveals the huge impact he had on the author as a young boy. Acknowledging the fact that the Duke may not have always been good, Holmes defends him as being 'unquestionably great', and takes the reader back to his childhood days as Arthur Wesley, a member of the Protestant minority under siege in 18th-century Ireland. A far from ideal financial situation drove the family to England, where the young Arthur went to Eton as 'a shy young Irishman in England, an outsider'. Having dabbled in politics, he found himself in a British army smarting from defeat in America, and he returned from a disastrous military campaign in March 1795 all the wiser for having 'learnt what not to do'. The history of the times are expertly considered - from the development in weaponry to the enormous events unfolding across the continent of Europe - as they form a background to Wellington's life and his illustrious military career. But Holmes doesn't just discuss his role as a soldier; we also hear of his political idealism, his philandering and his skill with a well-placed pithy remark. Complete with maps, illustrations and colour plates, this book pretty much says all that needs to be said about Wellington, and very readably too. (Kirkus UK)
About the author
Celebrated military historian and television presenter Richard Holmes is famous for his BBC series 'Rebels and Redcoats: The American Revolutionary War'; 'Wellington: The Iron Duke'; 'Battlefields'; 'War Walks' and 'The Western Front'. He is the author of many bestselling and widely acclaimed books including 'Firing Line', 'The Western Front', 'Sahib', 'Redcoat' and 'Tommy' '. He is general editor of the definitive 'Oxford Companion to Military History'. He taught military history at Sandhurst for many years and is now Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science. His biography of the Duke of Marlborough is published by HarperCollins in 2008. He lives near Winchester in Hampshire.
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