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on 16 April 2007
A thoroughly good read, and a must for any Peninsula or Napoleonic enthusiast. Mr. Buttery tells the story of what is a largely forgotten campaign, for although many of the parts - Busacco, Fuentes D'Onoro, lines of Torres Vedras, etc - are well known, the background usually isn't. He takes what I found to be the interesting and unusual angle of seeing the campaign mostly from the French view, with a fascinating insight into the mind of Marshal Massena - an interesting chap to say the least. I can recommend it entirely.
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on 22 September 2015
The first chapters of this book deal with the previous histories of our two combatants of the title. The details on Wellington were not new to me but those of Massena were. He was somewhat war-weary by the time he arrived in Portugal and clearly had accumulated a few enemies or at least disrespectors on the French side. The author uses plenty of first hand sources to tease out the details of the battles and what comes across is that Massena could have given the allies several serious reverses and probably beaten them at Fuentes De Onoro had he been earlier supported better by Ney (who he dismissed during the retreat from the Lines of Torres Verdes) and laterly by most of his general staff who appeared to have failed to show the initiative usually so prevelant in other campaigns. One reason for the lack of support appears to be a lack of respect due to Massena having brought along his latest mistress disguised as a french officer.

The battles are all clearly described in the text and there are also some of the best maps I've ever seen in a book of this type. Two of the major conflicts actually have two maps each which greatly aid in understanding.

The book includes details of Massena's life after the peninsular war during both Restorations of the monarchy and also that he became friendly with Wellington whilst he was british ambassador to Paris.

There is an interesting chapter at the end giving advice to those who might wish to visit the battlefields from this campaign and also several monochrome illustrations of places featured in the battle.

A thoroughly good read!
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on 23 November 2007
This book, whilst an entertaining read, suffers from too many similarities as Grehan's 2004 work on the Lines of Torres Vedras. This should come as no surprise given the trisection of Wellington, Massena and the Lines during 1810 - 11. Buttery's work is differentiated on two scores; by a concise personal and military life of Massena (who was a shadow to me previously) and an indepth analysis of the battle of Fuentes de Onoro (my favourite set piece of the Peninsular War). Also there is an illuminating section at the end dealing with a visit to the historical sites of interest something I've attempted in the past to varying degrees of success. Overall, this work is a value for money micro analysis of an interesting period of the war. P.S. a tip for Mr Buttery, you should update the Wikipedia entry on Massena as there are a number of errors currently present and I feel you should be the one to correct them.
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