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The War of Wars: The Epic Struggle Between Britain and France: 1789-1815 by [Harvey, Robert]
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The War of Wars: The Epic Struggle Between Britain and France: 1789-1815 Kindle Edition

3.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Length: 992 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Review

A pleasure. (Bernard Cornwell, author of the Sharpe novels)

Comprehensive, clear, persuasive and entertaining . . . I doubt a better account of the never-ending war will be written in many a year. (Allan Mallinson, Spectator)

Ambitious . . . and thought-provoking. (Munro Price, Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

Drawing together the politics, personalities, battles and diplomacy of this tumultuous era, Robert Harvey brilliantly recreates the story of the greatest conflict that stretches from the first blaze of revolution in Paris in 1789 to final victory on the muddy fields of Waterloo.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4865 KB
  • Print Length: 992 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; 1st Paperback Printing edition (1 Jun. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002S0KBY0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #273,850 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I own a number of books by Robert Harvey and have enjoyed them all so I was quite excited by this book that offered a condensed, concise and updated version of this period in history. Harvey's style of writing is always light, breezy and well paced with the author being able to unravel complex topics and present them in a simple, easy to understand manner. The layout of the book is a key strength of this work with short sharp chapters that allows the reader to make progress in convenient time. The selection of illustrations and plates, whilst not immaginative per se, adequately compliment the work. It is clear that Harvey thoroughly understands the navel aspect of these wars very well, and heaps praise upon Cochrane especially (not surprising since Harvey wrote a biography on Cochrane). Another refreshing aspect of this history is Harvey's opinions of the key players; Pitt, Grenville, Napoleon, Nelson etc etc, who are re-assessed and come through the wash very differently from the majority of works extant.

Unfortunately this is where the positives end. When the work began to encounter the Peninsular campaigns, mistakes of an unforgivable nature began to creep into the work.
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Format: Paperback
When I saw this book I grabbed it immediately - I'd wanted a single volume history of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars for ages.

I was very disappointed. The book reads like a first draft. The editing is a disgrace - there are numerous typos, grammatical errors and the structure is all over the place. A typical example is a detailed desription of how naval prize money is divvied up. "A quarter" to the lower ranks but "two eigths to the captain". When the quarters and eights are totted up, the result is one and a quarter. Clearly nobody involved in the publisihing of the book bothered even to read its hardback edition.

Similarly, the book is full of contradictions. Pitt is described on one page as a first rate orator and on the very next page as being without any oratorical talents.

The writing is readable in the way that a column in a tabloid newspaper is. Breezy, opinionated, cliched and not too bothered with the facts. The main difference is that a newspaper would never employ such a poor editor.

This is the first book I have ever given a single star to. I don't care much about the money I spent on it but I do resent that the time I have wasted. The writer and his publisher should be ashamed of themselves. Neither will ever get my custom again.
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Format: Hardcover
Happily, I was bought this book as a birthday present. Unhappily, friends paid good money for a work that, while superficially attractive, is so full of errors as to make a reader question virtually every fact stated and assertion made within it.

I have never read a book so flawed - astonishing errors of fact, bizarre errors of typing and bewildering variations of judgement about the same individuals from page to page.

Here's a selection of highlights, but there are many, many more:

George III page 2 "humdrum and egotistical", page 78 "intelligent, energetic and conscientious"

Frederick William, King of Prussia, is consistently referred to as the "Kaiser", a title that they only gained on the creation of the German Empire 70 years or so after the period in question.

p.39 "Jacobins" become "Incobins"

p.91 "... an old British enemy, Austria. Austria had long vied with Britain for control of the Low Countries, and traditionally had tended to side with France" - a tradition that presumably does not include, for example, the 30 Years War, the Nine Years War, the War of Spanish Succession or the War of Austrian Succession.

p.290 Speaking of voting in France, "3,011,007 in favour, 1,562 against. 97% to 3%" - only of course, it's not...

p.547 The naval battle of the "Glorious first of June" is instead said to be the "Glorious Fourth of June" - mixing ships and grouse, presumably.

p.563 Back to maths again: "..giant squares, some 30,000 men, eight men across and six ranks deep."

p.592 Robert Crauford, one of the great generals of the British army, becomes "Robin" Crauford.

p.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading Robert Harvey's book while sitting on a beach as I did is probably the best way to enjoy it. History students will have limited benefit from it owing to the numerous factual errors it contains. As the book claims to focus on the English and French conflicts, it still has to summarise other important events otherwise the narrative simply will not work. This leads to a rather uneven read; falling between the stools of an overview of the entire Napoleonic Wars and a series of essays on Britain vs. France, which may have suited the intended remit rather better.

Still, enjoyable as a summer read over a cold beer.
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