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All The King's Men: The British Soldier from the Restoration to Waterloo [Hardcover]

Saul David
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Feb 2012

Saul David's All The King's Men is a thrilling history of the British Redcoat from the English Civil War to Waterloo

From the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the Downfall of Napoleon in 1815, Britain won a series of major wars against France that enabled her to lay the foundations of a global empire. By Waterloo, she was the paramount maritime and industrial power in the world, and would remain so for much of the nineteenth century.

This is the story of that extraordinary century and a half of martial success and the people who made it possible: the soldier-kings William III and the first two Georges; the generals Marlborough, Wolfe, Moore and Wellington; and the ordinary British redcoats who - despite harsh service conditions that included low pay, poor housing, inadequate food and brutal discipline - rarely let their commanders down in battles as far afield as Blenheim, Plassey, Quebec and Waterloo.

'Filled with swashbuckling derring-do, the reek of blood and gunpowder, combined with shrewd analysis of power, war and psychology' Simon Sebag Montefiore

'An extraordinary story, packed with drama, incident and great characters...Combines a clear and powerful narrative with shrewd judgements, illuminating vignettes and fresh and telling detail ... All The King's Men is all you could hope for ... Quite an achievement.' Patrick Bishop, Country Life

Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (shortlisted for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstone's Military History Book of the Year) and, most recently, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Viking; 1st Edition edition (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670916633
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670916634
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 319,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically-acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (shortlisted for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstone's Military History Book of the Year) and, most recently, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire.

Saul David also writes acclaimed historical fiction. Zulu Hart, the first in the George Hart series, was a bestseller in 2009, and the sequel, Hart of Empire, will be published in August 2010.

An experienced broadcaster, Saul David has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.

Visit Saul's website at www.sauldavid.co.uk.

Product Description

Review

Filled with swashbuckling derring-do, the reek of blood and gunpowder, combined with shrewd analysis of power, war and psychology (Simon Sebag Montefiore)

Those wishing to immerse themselves in this golden age of British military success will relish David's fine piece of history (Sunday Times)

An extraordinary story, packed with drama, incident and great characters...Combines a clear and powerful narrative with shrewd judgements, illuminating vignettes and fresh and telling detail... 'All The King's Men' is all you could hope for...Quite an achievement. (Patrick Bishop Country Life)

At a time when the Army is facing cutbacks while being expected to fight distant, unpopular wars on a shoestring, David's book could not be more topical (Nigel Jones Sunday Telegraph)

a big meaty, satisfying and thought-provoking book, a real achievement (Patrick Bishop)

Incisive and acute . . . [David] always finds a telling phrase, an eye-catching detail or a human story (Sunday Times, on VICTORIA'S WARS)

About the Author

Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham and the author of several critically acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (shortlisted for the Westminster Medal for Military Literature), Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (a Waterstone's Military History Book of the Year) and, most recently, Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire.He has also written two bestselling historical novels set in the wars of the late 19th Century, Zulu Hart and Hart of Empire. An experienced broadcaster, he has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major TV channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious - but Successful 28 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
Similar to Simon Sebag Montefiore and Max Hastings, Saul David is accomplished at blending together scholarship, narrative and argument. This book is ambitious in its scope, but yet more than any other book on the British Army released over the past few years All The King's Men meets most of its ambitions. Biography, military minutiae, frontline accounts, set piece battles and the burdens of leadership are all married together with intelligence and style.

If I had to have one small criticism I would say that the chapters on the American War of Independence do not quite stand up to those that come before or after, but that may partly be put down to the nature of the war and our defeat.

I sincerely hope that the author is planning a follow-up to All The King's Men. Professor David has written with authority and affection recently about General Slim, in his short but superb book Great Military Commanders. I would be interested in his views about how the British Army performed in WWI and WWII. All the King's Men gloriously recounts how we passed muster in numerous conflicts which came before.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rank and File 21 Mar 2012
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
As a reader, whilst I'm fairly up on the General's points of view on various wars, it's how the rank and file troops were armed and equipped that always kept me interested. This book by Saul David takes the reader by the hand and gives you the information on how the soldier changed from the Restoration (the 1660's) through to Waterloo (1815) via the various equipment changes and also the training alongside how they interacted on the field.

War is an ever changing beast yet this title by Saul really does bring it all to life, allowing the reader to follow the information in an easy to understand method as well as making it easy to recall. All in a cracking title and one that I'll be referring to time and again. Great stuff.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent, Well-Informed Read 28 Jan 2012
Format:Hardcover
This book is informed, argumentative and elegant. Saul David, who has written definitive books about the Indian Mutiny and the Zulu War, has now turned his attention to the 18th century (and up to and including the battle of Waterloo). The book is worthwhile for its portraits of Marlborough and Wolfe alone - but All The King's Men also encompasses the virtues (and vices) of ordinary Redcoats and includes some wonderful set-piece accounts of great battles, such as Blenheim and Quebec.
All The King's Men is far from a hagiography though - and the British Army is rightly criticised for its performance in the American War of Independence (albeit this is partially through the fault of its commanders at the time). There are wonderful nuggets of trivia and the author quotes well (from officers and ordinary soldiers alike) and even though I have read widely on Wellington and Waterloo for instance, Saul David has been able to mine new information from regimental archives.
All The King's Men is also the perfect complement to the author's recent short book on generals and generalship, Great Military Commanders, in which Professor David argues who is Britain's Greatest General - Marlborough, Wellington or Slim. I will not spoil it for readers who may wish to know the author's answer to that question but what I will say is that, from reading All The King's Men, we can be justly proud of having a great British army throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.
Required reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good But Misleading Title 16 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Although I would not wish to question the depth of research which went in to this book nor the gripping style in which it is written, I have to confess to a sense of disappointment at the end of reading it. As a biography of some of Britain's most famous army commanders and yet another epic account of the battle of Waterloo, the book delivers on most counts. As an insight in to the "redcoat" and his travails and triumphs it falls well short of, for instance, works such as Richard Holmes' "Redcoat". Of course the literacy standard of the average soldier during this period was such that well documented accounts of their military lives are few and far between. All the more reason therefore to more wisely choose the book's title and content. At no point could I conjure up the excitement, fear and camaraderie of the battlefield from a "redcoat's" perspective...and I write as a former soldier. It is however a well researched book, equally well written and it does rattle along at a good pace. Unfortunately it is the rattling of the officers' bridlery and swords rather than that of a musket volley or bayonets being fixed which ultimately resonates. Musket and Bayonet should have been at the heart of the book but somehow subsided to the periphery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 13 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book was for my husband to take on holiday so for 14 days all I kept hearing everyday was "this is a great book" and he couldn't put it down! He reads a lot of history events and this has been one he has really enjoyed so would recommend this to anyone interested in historical military actions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable history of The Redcoats 1 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The best descriptive account that I have read of the reality of close combat war. A very illuminating account of Wellington's childhood, background and sometime faltering military career. Quite the best account of The Battle of Waterloo that I have found.
Better more comprehensive maps would enhance this work. Fold out maps would be brilliant but perhaps not possible in paperback binding.
I would recommend this work to anyone who has an interest in Military History in the 17th to 19th Centuries
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a great read
Published 2 months ago by Jmg Mcdonald
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great item.
Published 2 months ago by john henry jones
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
Enjoy Saul Davids Histoticial deatails. A good read simply argued and well worth your time reading it. Might learn something.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good old fashioned history
I must confess that the opening to this book put me off. The author suggests that the great battles and leaders of the British Army in the years 1660-1815 have been neglected in... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Junius
5.0 out of 5 stars Very readable!
As a pacifist I find it rate I enjoy any description of war, but this book is a masterpiece, combining actual soldiers descriptions of the battles, with cool prose describing what... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Andy Laverick
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.
First let me state that my disappointment isn't with the writing or the accuracy.

This book is subtitled "The British Redcoat in the era of sword and musket". Read more
Published 15 months ago by M. Prince
5.0 out of 5 stars super book
a cracking book that is a must read for anyone interested in British history. Saul David provides countless historical facts that go into great detail about this era of our... Read more
Published 16 months ago by graham harris
5.0 out of 5 stars great read well documented
well detailed, having read several books on various wars and battles this is a great book to get your teeth into.
Published 17 months ago by idris colin lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and revealing the other side of millitary life of that era
A bit biased to the Officer classes but overall very interesting not always accurate with a few slight historical errors especially about the battle of Culloden.
Published 17 months ago by Ronald Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely read
Saul David never seems to write a bad book. Always easy for the layman to follow and just an excellent book.
Published 20 months ago by David New
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