6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A thrilling true story, told by an excellent writer!,
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This review is from: Conquer or Die!: British Volunteers in Bolivar's War of Extermination 1817-21 (General Military) (Hardcover)
Ben Hughes has written a very readable account of a forgotten army: the British volunteers who in 1815-1825 fought and died for the independence of Latin America. His bibliography is impressive and covers virtually all primary and secondary sources. All significant battles are accompanied by very clear maps. The style is elegant and Mr. Hughes has done an excellent job in linking together the personal anecdotes told by the volunteers themselves. This book succeeds in its objective of making you feel as if you were there and is an impressive achievement.
On the less positive side, the book claims to have been the first narrative on the subject in the last 80 years. Moises Enrique Rodriguez published two volumes on the subject ("Freedom's Mercenaries") in 2006, which thread the same ground, albeit in a different manner (there is no suspicion of plagiarism as the works are remarkably different).
Freedom's Mercenaries: v. 1: British Volunteers in the Wars of Independence of Latin America;
Freedom's Mercenaries: British Volunteers in the Wars of Independence of Latin America: v. 2
Mr Hughes must have known of this work through his research and his cooperation with Professor Matthew Brown, yet he does not mention it.
Another source of disappointment is that Mr Hughes ends his story in 1821 at the battle of Carabobo, limiting his account of the period 1822-1824 to a short epilogue. Yet, British volunteers also fought with distinction in those three years. It is hoped that Mr Hughes will delight us with a second volume giving us his detailed version of these events.
Last but not least, it was surprising to find the battle of Vargas described as "undecisive" and that of Boyaca described as a major encounter. All sources state that it was Vargas what decided the war and that Boyaca, a minor engagement, only confirmed Vargas' results. However, this is not a mistake on the part of Mr Hughes but a different interpretation.
A great read which, as a fellow expert on the subject, I can thoroughly recommend!