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Napoleon and Wellington: The Long Duel Paperback – 1 May 2003
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A dual biography of the greatest opposing generals of their age who ultimately became fixated on one another, by a bestselling historian.
On the morning of the battle of Waterloo, the Emperor Napoleon declared that the Duke of Wellington was a bad general, the British were bad soldiers and that France could not fail to win an easy victory. Forever afterwards historians have accused him of gross overconfidence, and massively underestimating the calibre of the British commander opposed to him. Andrew Roberts presents an original, highly revisionist view of the relationship between the two greatest captains of their age. Napoleon, who was born in the same year as Wellington - 1769 - fought Wellington by proxy years earlier in the Peninsula War, praising his ruthlessness in private while publicly deriding him as a mere 'sepoy general'. In contrast, Wellington publicly lauded Napoleon, saying that his presence on a battlefield was worth forty thousand men, but privately wrote long memoranda lambasting Napoleon's campaigning techniques. Although Wellington saved Napoleon from execution after Waterloo, Napoleon left money in his will to the man who had tried to assassinate Wellington. Wellington in turn amassed a series of Napoleonic trophies of his great victory, even sleeping with two of the Emperor's mistresses.See all Product description
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There is little here about the political lives, or the civil measures, taken by either man, although one became Emperor and the other Prime Minister - instead the book is mainly about their military campaigns and the contrasting strategies used by each man.
An interesting book, well told, which shows the strange fascination which Wellington seems to have held about Napoleon, and the often disparaging view Napoleon held about Wellington, Waterloo not withstanding. That ii is Napoleon's view of Europe which is largely ascendant today is a fitting ending to the book.However, for me, it is pity that the civil record of each man is not compared and contrasted to anything like the same extent as their generalship
I consider Napoleon the Great, by the same author, one of my favourite books of history. This book is an orgasmic complement to that book.
For a symbiotic account of two great men of history - one of whom I would argue is the greatest of them all - look no further.
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