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Rifles: Six Years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters

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

Mark Urban
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £10.99
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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

Product Description

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

'A riveting slab of derring-do and high adventure ... Deeply researched, beautifully crafted and captivating.' Frank McLynn, Daily Express

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 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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155 of 158 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The More The Danger, The More The Honour" 15 Sep 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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88 of 91 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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7 of 7 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stiring account of this ground breaking regiment 8 July 2008
I would never thought of buying this book. I've never really been into the Napoleonic wars even though I only ever tend to read military history. However I was given this book as a surprise birthday present, which I read whilst on holiday. What a cracking read! A well written and researched account of this ground breaking regiments deeds during the peninsular war, and the final encounter at Waterloo. Mark urban does a grand job of putting across the feeling of regimental comradery that must have bonded this fighting elite. While reading you get the feeling the rifles were to all intense purposes modern day soldiers fighting in a 19th century war. This lot would 'soften up' the massive French columns before the ordinary soldiers of the line unleashed their murderous volleys at a closer range. The heroism displayed and told in actions and hand to hand is both immense and impressive. Brilliant stuff, and a poignant quote used in the last couple of paragraphs of this book left me tears.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars an enthralling read
In an authoritive style the story of the 95th is recounted in detail, bringing the characters alive you can't help celebrating their achievements and being despondent when their... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Jean De Hautville
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well informed
Published 29 days ago by Linda Mckay
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant read.
Published 1 month ago by S.E.Burch
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, yet again from Mr Urban
Yet again Mark Urban brings life to a subject I knew little about. It was a seriously tough war.
Published 1 month ago by Portlander
5.0 out of 5 stars Riflemen revealed
This was an excellent account of the 95th in the Peninsular. Well researched and well written, more like a Bernard Cornwell than a serious work of research, it read like a novel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Diehard
5.0 out of 5 stars I do like historical writings that flow like fiction rather than dry...
I do like historical writings that flow like fiction rather than dry text and Mark Urban does that very well. Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. Mcpherson
4.0 out of 5 stars ... Sharpe fan then this book gives you a much better feel for his...
If you are a Sharpe fan then this book gives you a much better feel for his Regiment.
Published 2 months ago by Rodanjay
4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I read it
Good practical history and a very good counterpoint to fiction about the Napoleonic wars, especially the Sharpe novels which I enjoy
Published 2 months ago by Chris Rust
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific detail
This was just what I needed to get me back to my Sharpe novels again. I was to read the novels with renewed interest after reading Mark Urbans great book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Adrian
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay...
It's enjoyable to read and it gives a real feel of what life was like during this campaign. It's written in a manner that you would think some of the soldiers featured have been... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Katkiller
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