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

Mark Urban
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £10.99
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Book Description

As part of the Light Division created to act as the advance guard of Wellington's army, the 95th Rifles are the first into battle and the last out. Fighting and thieving their way across Europe, they are clearly no ordinary troops. The 95th are in fact the first British soldiers to take aim at their targets, to take cover when being shot at, to move tactically by fire and manoeuvre. And by the end of the six-year campaign they have not only proved themselves the toughest fighters in the army, they have also - at huge personal cost - created the modern notion of the infantryman.

In an exhilarating work of narrative military history, Mark Urban traces the story of the 95th Rifles, the toughest and deadliest sharpshooters of Wellington's Army.

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

'Urban writes history the way it should be written, alive and exciting.' Andy McNab

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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: 2197 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: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,339 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
159 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The More The Danger, The More The Honour" 15 Sept. 2003
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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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The real Sharpe 17 Jun. 2007
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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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Band of Brothers 9 Oct. 2003
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 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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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, but...... 19 May 2004
"Rifles" really brings the Light Division involvement in the Peninsula Campaign to life incredibly well. The characters become quite familiar, and their various histories are woven together brilliantly. I found the book very readable and enjoyable. But it fell apart with the maps. Virtually unreadable sections of what seem to be Victorian maps without any orientation are absolutely no help in getting the bigger picture of the individual battles. I kept trying to see what was going on and finding the maps were useless. Hitting you with a profusion of Portuguese and Spanish names with no attempt to provide maps of where the action is taking place and how the action progressed completely let the book down for me. The illustrations were largely uninformative and the old style of glossy maps provided were unreadable. How much better it would have been to provide maps and diagrams of the Lines of Torres Vedras, hand drawn charts of the major battles detailing the course of the action, photogaphs of the surviving fortifications or locations of sieges, photographs of the locations of the bridges where actions took place. Brief descriptive dialogue describing relative locations of units during battles just weren't enough to give a mental picture of what was going on and nowhere near matched the excellent commentary in the text. The culmination at Waterloo was very brief and unsatisfying, granted that this was from the point of view of the Light Brigade only and not a general battle tour. The book held my attention, and I found the subsequent histories of some of the characters very touching. A definite recommend, but diagrams, maps, photographs of locations....more!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyable to read and gives something of the soldiers' view of the Peninsular war. Very different from Sharpe.
Published 4 days ago by bs6600
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
My husband enjoyed it would recommend it
Published 1 month ago by FLOSSI
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 2 months ago by Mrs R A Hutchinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, worth
Good book, worth reading
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
amazing book delivery excellent
Published 5 months ago by Debra Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars still in progress, will be able to write a ...
still in progress,will be able to write a fuller report when read.
Published 5 months ago by clipo
5.0 out of 5 stars This book presents very clearly what it was like to be a British...
An antidote to C.S. Forester's The Gun? What do I mean? Well, The Gun is a smashing yarn of the peninsular confict but, possibly, it romanticises some aspects of the campaign, from... Read more
Published 6 months ago by G. D. Busby
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant account of the real Sharpes
What a great book. Mark Urban's account is superb. Highly recommended.
Published 6 months ago by TheMan
5.0 out of 5 stars Rip roaring brilliance
Nothing less than a five star rating for Marks work. I have another two of his books to read, starting now
Published 7 months ago by Jennifer Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoyed Sharpe, buy this
Well written, adds (even more?) background and realism to the Sharpe books. If you enjoyed Sharpe, buy this!
Published 9 months ago by Derek H
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