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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book Covering Some of Victoria's Wars
This is an interesting and well written book, but it is not quite what it seems, unless you pay great attention to the sub-title, 'Rise of Empire'. That is to say that the book does not cover by any means Victoria's wars but only those wars that took place prior to the death of Prince Albert on 14th December 1861. This necessarily means that all the wars involving Africa,...
Published on 25 Mar 2010 by Dr. R. Brandon

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0 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Almost royalist propaganda.
Really overplays Victorias role and underplays other influences like the East India company, which was probably the biggest thing to make the empire and give the money and impetous for other things. For too loyal royalist for my taste.
Published 16 months ago by Falcon


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Book Covering Some of Victoria's Wars, 25 Mar 2010
By 
Dr. R. Brandon (England) - See all my reviews
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This is an interesting and well written book, but it is not quite what it seems, unless you pay great attention to the sub-title, 'Rise of Empire'. That is to say that the book does not cover by any means Victoria's wars but only those wars that took place prior to the death of Prince Albert on 14th December 1861. This necessarily means that all the wars involving Africa, including the Zulu War of 1879 and the Boer War of 1899, are excluded.
The main campaigns that are covered by this book are the Afghan Wars, the later Indian wars of conquest and the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the wars in Burma and Siam, and the Crimean and Opium Wars. The Crimean War of 1854 to 56 is particularly well dealt with and I do not think that I have read a clearer account of how the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava came to take place.
The author explains the background to the various campaigns very well. These are dealt with in chronological order. He describes the reasons for the action taken, and also keeps us well acquainted with the political pressures on the ministers of the time and the frequent changes of government. Having established the background the author then expertly sketches in the characteristics of the leading figures on both sides and often gives us detailed and graphic descriptions of the key moments in the battles or assaults.
David regularly relates the relationship of the various prime ministers and their foreign policy to the views of Victoria and Albert, Albert being no mere cipher in this field.
The book is well constructed and contains some interesting illustrations, line maps and a useful timeline of events.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars from Kabul to Peking, 11 May 2013
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M. Baerends - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire (Paperback)
Good description of the various fresh & frolicky wars that Britain fought between Victoria's coronation and the death of her husband Albert, i.e. from the late 1830s to 1861. The wars range from the little-known war in Burmah to the epic Crimean war, and from the disastrous retreat from Kabul to the highly succesful (but somewhat nasty as it degenerated into the burning of the summer palace) campaign to Peking in the third Opium war. I found the book well written, it gives appropriate attention to weapons technology (this period covers the evolution from the 'brown bess' musket to the rifled Enfield muzzle-loader) while also digressing on political events on the home front & the private life of the royals. Recommended.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire, 5 Jun 2006
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A thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable retelling of military history during the first part of Queen Victoria's reign up to the death of Prince Albert. The original aspect of this volume however the way in which Saul David has intertwined political and royal events with the succession of "minor" wars including the retreat from Kabul, the Indian Mutiny and the Crimean War.

Beautifully written a darn good yarn for all armchair soldiers and historians
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Overview of Early Victorian Wars, 27 Mar 2008
This review is from: Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire (Paperback)
I read many years ago that there was not a day during Queen Victoria's reign when there was not a war going on somewhere involving British forces. Saul David does a great job of describing a number of the early 'small wars' (plus the Crimean War which probably could not be described as a 'small war'), during the period running up to the death of Prince Albert. That is the only 'gotcha' - do not expect this book to cover any wars beyond the date of his death, such as the Zulu War and the Sudan War.
Nonetheless, it's a small 'gotcha' as this is a very well written story. The campaigns are well-described, but Mr David goes further in that he intertwines the descriptions of the military campaigns with a study of the political scene both at home and abroad and a good view of Victoria and Albert as Queen and Consort. He uses, in particular, the Queen's diaries and letters to really bring the era to life which provide a fascinating insight into a Queen who quickly developed a mature and professional political sense. Mr David also provides more than mere descriptions of the military aspects of the campaigns, but gives a good analysis of each scenario from a political and military point of view.
The result is a very readable history book which provides on overview of the wars of the period and the politics surrounding them. It is a great starter book which should naturally lead the reader onto more detailed accounts of the many campaigns fought around the world during the 19th Century. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing, exciting history, 23 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire (Paperback)
This book is a thoroughly engrossing account of British imperial warfare & politics during the reign of Queen Victoria. It is packed with detail & contemporary accounts, & portraits of eccentric & heroic personalities; yet is written in an easy-to-read & free-flowing style. The strategic overviews & blow-by-blow tactical details of battles are sandwiched between the political context & manoeuvres of those in power. Victoria's reign serves as a unifying backdrop, but she is little more than an observer, albeit one with a dear love & concern for her military forces, a monarch who likes to make her feelings known. This is very much a book about military & political power play during the heyday of the British Empire, not about monarchy. It does not shy away from the brutalities of the era, be they foreign or British-inflicted, yet this book still captures a sense of adventure, glory & pride that was felt at the time. The book also includes numerous pages of b/w maps, paintings & sketches of the events, which further enhance the experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victoria's Wars, 3 May 2012
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Saul David is one of the pre-eminent military historians of our age. His knowledge of the 19th Century conflicts in which England (Britain) was involved is amazing and his grasp of detail impressive. This book covers Victoria's reign from her accession in 1837 to the death of Albert in 1861 and combines detail from his others covering the Indian Mutiny and other conflicts. No doubt the following book covering the remainder of Victoria's reign will include details from his excellent history of the Zulu wars and others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "little of everything", like an appetizer of conflict stories, 10 April 2011
By 
El Fanegas (Reus, Tarragona Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire (Paperback)
As of late, i've been bited by the "historical curiosity" insect. This book came very at hand at introducing to myself the wars fought under Queen Victoria's reign.
As correctly appointed by the other reviewers, it covers until 1861. So if you're looking for info of the Zulu War, Egypt Campaign, etc, you won't find it here. Let's hope a continuation is done soon to complement this volume.
It introduces the wars with interest, a "little of everything". The Crimea War, The Indian Mutiny, etc, are covered as a whole, and makes an excellent introduction to these conflicts. If you want more info about a particular conflict depicted in this book, it bytes you with the "want to know more?" insect, like me, that now i'm more interested than ever in the Crimean War and i'm ready to buy a few books from Amazon UK covering this particular subject.
So if you want a general review of Queen Victoria's wars, up to 1861, this is your book. From here lies the road to especific conflict books, etc.
In the end, good price, with maps, photo and painting image pages, and good quality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A useful and very readable book, 6 Sep 2014
This review is from: Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire (Paperback)
Recently I have started to become interested in Victorian military and social history but would have to admit that my knowledge is somewhat lacking. This book doesn't deal with every war or battle because there are too many and it does not go beyond the death of Albert; it does have references to the political scene and the attitudes of Queen Victoria in a useful, but thankfully not in a heavy, way. A well researched and written book to which I will refer to in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Victoria's Wars by David Soul, 20 Sep 2014
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As part of my research into my family's history, where a great deal of it was spent in the army at this time, David Soul's book has been invaluable. Not only did I learn more about the period, the narrative flowed as told by a natural story teller.
The book a very well written and compelling read.
Anyone who is studying this period should read this book and anyone who wants to know more about the life and conditions of the army would also benefit from it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining, 2 Mar 2014
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Covering the wars during the Victoria&Albert period, it gives an interesting insight of the monarch's views.
It gives an overview on the different campaigns with some interesting critical analysis .
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Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire
Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire by Saul David (Paperback - 29 Mar 2007)
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