Wellington's History Of The Peninsular War

Wellington's History Of The Peninsular War

Author
Stuart Reid
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
To a generation coloured by Bernard Cornwall’s eminently readable Sharpe series this is a chance to return to the root sources.

Stuart Reid has assembled the Duke of Wellington’s published despatches. They form a contemporary account of the campaign , the key item for the serious historian is that they were not re-edited after the war. They provide a unique view of the war from Wellinngton’s eyes, as it developed. A further thought is that they help us to understand how the politicians and Horse Guards were appraised during the war.

In an era of instant data transfer we can find it hard to remember that the government had to rely on despatches for the bulk of it’s decision making. There would have been few journalists , William Russell ( The Times ,Crimea) had yet to be born !

The central portion of the book is 132 pages of despatches commencing on 15th June 1808 and finishing on 16th April 1814 . Stuart Reid gives a brief introduction helping to set the political and military scene but then , sensibly , lets Wellington’s words speak for themselves.

The despatches are then concluded by an appendix of the officers serving under Wellington and an orbat. A good bibliography , working index and bibliography complete the package. Illustrations and maps are relevant, the illustrations printed on glossy paper with some delightful colour plates of the uniforms. The author has made some helpful comments on the differing rank structure, paragraph 2 page 133 reminds all of us that the Guards do such matters in a different manner!

This is a book aimed squarely at the military reader with a bit of background knowledge of the campaign. It is to be commended as an excellent source of reference and a chance to see through Wellington’s eyes.

The author has written a number of military books including , The Battle of Minden 1759 and the Battle of Killiecrankie 1689.

Frontline books have printed to their usual high standard. The cover price is £25.00 (kindle £10.71) but there are copies on Amazon from £11.88

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