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Rifles: Six Years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters Kindle Edition

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Length: 368 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description


A deeply researched, beautifully crafted and captivating volume ... a riveting slab of derring-do and high adventure. -- Daily Express, 25 October 2003

If you like Sharpe, then this book is a must, your Christmas present solved. -- Bernard Cornwell, Daily Mail, 7 November 2003

This book is a delight, wise in its judgments and clear-headed in its approach to the painful field of battle. -- Sunday Herald, October 2003

Urban's last book ... was very good. This is even better. -- Daily Telegraph, October 2003

Urban’s book is war unplugged - vicious, immediate, chaotic and raw. -- Scotland on Sunday, October 2003

Book Description

Rifles is Mark Urban's exhilarating work of narrative history, described by Bernard Cornwell as 'A great tale, and Mark Urban tells it superbly . . . If you like Sharpe, then this book is a must.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6932 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber Non Fiction; Main edition (4 Sept. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI91LC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #36,506 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

160 of 164 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Loveitt on 15 Sept. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Mark Urban, the author of "The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes," has written another very good book. He tells the story of the "legendary" 95th Rifles, following them from when they embark from England in 1809 (to take their place in the Peninsular War) up until their involvement at the Battle of Waterloo. We travel along with them through Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium and get to know the hardships they endured- seemingly endless marching; the confusing advances and retreats; sleeping out in the open in the cold, rain and snow; and going long periods, sometimes up to 3 days, without any food. This, in addition to the many skirmishes, sieges, and battles they engaged in- which were more numerous than those fought in by any other regiment. I enjoyed this book for many reasons: Mr. Urban writes very well, with a witty, yet informal, style; there are many first-person accounts, so we really get to feel that we know these men and what they are going through; in addition, the author doesn't try to hide the less noble aspects of the 95th- besides the many examples of bravery and loyalty that we read about, we also see drunkeness, desertion, looting, and shirking of duty. But let me emphasize that Mr. Urban doesn't do a "hatchet-job" on the regiment. This is not revisionist history, it is just a full history...warts and all. And, believe me, the positive vastly outweighs the negative. Considering the amount of combat these men saw over an extended period (6 years), and the privations they suffered, one comes away from this book with a great deal of admiration and respect. Another nice thing about the book is that Mr. Urban goes to great lengths to explain what made this regiment so special- and what wasn't unique to them.Read more ›
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A. C. Cooper on 17 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
Having been a student of military history at uni and having grown up reading Bernard Cornwell's adventures of Richard Sharpe it was very interesting to read the true life accounts of the men of the 95th (or at least the 1st Battalion). Urban manages to make his book both informative and interesting, there are enough first hand accounts to stop it reading like a text book but there is still a wealth of academic information to keep the military historian happy. It was very interesting to follow the lives of several key figures within the battalion watching as their careers developed or indeed ended abruptly on the battlefield (or in at least one case, in front of a firing squad).

This is not a campaign history of the Peninsular war, although there is plenty of information on the subject, nor is it a regimental history of the 95th; it is more a personal history of the men of the 1st battalion of that unit that followed Wellington from Talavera to Waterloo. It focuses not only on their experiences in battle, be in small skirmishes, large set piece battles or the storming of a breach but also on the day to day lives of the soldiers covering such topics as food, shelter, desertion, advancement, money and entertainment. All in all a great book and well worth a read for anyone wishing to find the true Richard Sharpes of Wellington's army.
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90 of 94 people found the following review helpful By 'Rifleman' Harris on 9 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a cracking read.The author peels away layers of myth and tells it like it was.
The officer who hid in his tent to avoid a battle gets his due, so does the sergeant who got himself a comfy job in the hospital store room to avoid fighting. At the same time the guys who fought the French again and again - desperate not to let their regiment down despite suffering terrible conditions get the praise they deserve. In other words the 95th can at last be judged as real men rather than the two dimensional heroes of previous books.
Urban flags up the stories of several soldiers and officers to show what kind of people they were, where they came from, what their hopes and fears were. He shows also how the cameraderie between officers and men came to blow away the class system - with men of the Rifles themselves using the term 'Band of Brothers' that is now so familiar to us.
There are plenty of battle scenes and as many villains seem to wear British uniform as French. It really is an eye-opener, especially if you've read a bit about the Rifles before.
My only criticisms: not enough maps and it could have been longer - quite a few soldiers who you want to know more about but just get walk on parts.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marcus G on 28 April 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an enjoyable account of the 95th Rifles in the Peninsular war (with a final chapter covering Waterloo and later developments of the 95th). I'd recommend the book if you're at all interested in this period of history, military history in general or a fan of the Richard Sharpe books. A highlight of the book is the sketches of some of the characters - especially Robert Craufurd who is as memorable and paradoxical as any fictional character I've read. One minor problem is towards the end of the the battles (and some of the characters) tend to merge into one - I think this is due mainly to the nature of the subject and Urban in general has produced a very readable book.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on 8 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
- and excellent Peninsular War history -
The Rifle brigade is one of the most extraodinary of the British Napoleonic War regiments. Only put together in around 1800 by Sir John Moore - it played a pivotal role in the Peninsular War, and later at Waterloo. They were the first of the Rifle brigades based on the Austrian and French regiments such as the Voltigeurs and Tiralleurs - they were to the be first in and last out of most encounters.
Mark Urban's book is at one an intelligent and academic account of each of the battles of the Peninsular War, as well as a personal and readable style of writing. His efficiency in text allows the book to flow nicely.
As always with these types of history books (and no doubt because the reading audience are likely to be limited) there are never enoughillustrations - I thinkanyway. But there are enough to show the point, I just wish there could be more because this books begs for more illustrations and I know they are available.
It is lucky that there are so many accounts from all walks of life in the Rifle brigade, funny and articulate men who Urban has made good use of. I especially enjoyed his use of Jonathon Leach's books - some of the harder accounts to get hold of, and some of the most interesting ones.
The book is divided into chapters by major incident starting with Talavera - I was disappointed that the major incident prior to this, that is the retreat to Corunna isn't covered in here - although this subject has been dealt with efficiently in other accounts recently such as Summerville's March of Death - this is a slightly different angle - this is on the Rifle Brigade and they played a significant role in that retreat. This is dealt with in passing in the very first chapter.
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