Wellington Paperback – 18 Aug 2005
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An enthralling family biography of a British hero. (The Lady) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A highly personal, anecdotal family memoir of the Wellington legacy reissued in time for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in June 2015. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
If there was one weakness - or was it the resolute defence of family hounour? - it was her unwillingness to concede that Wellington had had a string of mistresses or, indeed even the one - when any more recent or more dispassionate observer would conclude that he was no more faithful a husband that many other men of his era in his position. How else would one of Napoleon's former lovers have been able to describe him as "beaucoup le plus fort"?
Excellent - but, better still, track down the original two volumes in the second hand market.
Elizabeth Longford gives a portrayal of Wellington far removed from the legendary cold and stern Iron Duke to reveal a compassionate, principled and forgiving man. His life was determined by his disciplined adherence to his principles.
As a military leader in India, and in Europe he proved to be a strategist of singular genius, not only on the battlefield but also embracing the goodwill of the occupied populace, the dreaded hearts and minds of modern terminology.
Wellington dominated British politics from the House of Lords, serving under Lord Liverpool and Robert Peel, and as Prime Minister (he subsequently rejected the Premiership twice). He had his hand in all of the major issues of the day, introducing the modern police force, Catholic emancipation, and assisting Peel in the repeal of the Corn Laws. The Great Reform Act of 1832 only went through with his eventual acquiescence. Longford dispels the authoritarian image too often perpetuated to reveal him to be a flexible and pragmatic politician, as evidenced in his policies on Catholic emancipation, constitutional reform, and the Corn Laws.
This is the seminal one volume biography of Wellington.
Why was he successful?
1. He prepared very well, attended to every detail himself because he knew he could not trust others to act for him.
2. He had a terrific 'grip on the battle', Monty's phrase: was everywhere and made decisions to deal with sudden problems on the spot.
3. He was nerveless on the battlefield: this encouraged everyone. And lucky: never received a serious wound.
4. He had learned a lot from his experience in India and the Peninsula before Waterloo.
5. He was basically flexible: this allowed him to make more good moves, some of them changes of position unlike, say Hitler, who acted as the general for the last year or so of WWII.
6. He was a very efficient thinker and intelligent in all he did.
7. A marvellous worker, devoted to his cause.
8. Saw himself as the King's good servant, dispensible and devoted.
Criticisms? The tactics of squares at Waterloo is a bit confused, I think. Of course it may be she is right. The film with Steiger and Plummer is much clearer. The battle itself could be clearer, in my opinion. Even so, it is very good.
In this book you are shown his life from India onwards (the book deals with his earlier life but not in great detail.) The book seeks to explain Wellington in a variety of fields, from his military genius to his political life but fals down in several areas, mostly due to the fact the certain areas of his life are glossed over and then a whole chapter devoted to a short episode.
Despite this, the book is very impressive and is a joy to read, if a little unfulfilling in the long term.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Much has been written about Wellington and Napoleon but this is the best biography of WellingtonPublished 3 months ago by C. Wyeth
Period piece for each generation beautifully webbed together. The characters spring out from the pagesPublished 10 months ago by venetia ross skinner
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