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Wellington: A Personal History Paperback – 7 May 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (7 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586091092
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586091098
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 700,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Christopher Hibbert’s masterly biography richly delineates the private side of the man who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, subsequently became Prime Minister and was described by Queen Victoria as ‘the greatest man this century ever produced’.

Wellington first achieved fame as a soldier in India. His later victories against the French earned him a dukedom, an estate in Hampshire and Apsley House (No. 1, Piccadilly) in London. Appointed Commander-in-Chief for life, he became Prime Minister in 1827, was an influential adviser to King George IV, William IV and Queen Victoria and presided over the emancipation of Roman Catholics and the formation of the country’s first police force. Unhappily married, he enjoyed many intimate friendships with women, and delighted in involving himself in other people’s affairs.

Christopher Hibbert’s lively and meticulously researched account was a bestseller in hardback, and was highly praised by the critics.

“A sympathetic and extremely engaging study of this complicated and paradoxical hero … Hibbert is one of England’s greatest living historical writers, and reading anything by him is pure pleasure. 'Wellington' should be enjoyed and savoured.”
AMANDA FOREMAN, 'Independent'

“Hibbert has proved himself over a long career as a distinguished and popular historian to be a master portraitist of great men’s private lives, and his Wellington is depicted in scores of captivating vignettes deftly built into a convincing and satisfying picture.”
STELLA TILLYARD, 'The Times'

“Hibbert marshals his material with exemplary skill and elegance, and he has produced a supremely accomplished biography.”
ANNE SOMERSET, 'Observer'

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Christopher Hibbert was described by Professor Sir John Plumb as a ‘writer of the highest ability’ & by the New Statesman as ‘a pearl of biographers’. He is our leading popular historian whose works reflect meticulous scholarship. His much-acclaimed books include (in addition to those above) THE DeSTRUCTION OF LORD RAGLAN, THE COURT AT WINDSOR, LONDON and ROME: BIOGRAPHY OF A CITY, THE RISE AND FALL OF THE HOUSE OF MEDICI etc.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Any amateur history buff will find Wellington: A Personal History a wonderful read. The author has evidently taken the approach of providing an insight into the personal life & character of this great man - very arguably the greatest Briton of all time. And what a fascinating character the "Iron Duke" is. Starting with his tough upbringing in an impoverished minor noble family, this book gives the reader some real sense of the context in which the young Arthur Wellesley developed.
Commissioned into the army as mere "food for powder" (his Mother's own sentiments!), as a young handsome officer Arthur could have easily chosen the temptations of becoming just another "Jack a Dandy" Beau, but instead he grew increasingly aware of his own genius and military ability. Here was a young man who "knew what he was about" and clearly decided to dedicate his energy to the dutiful business of becoming a great military leader. We follow his life's adventures through his army career and then weary of war, his decision to become a great statesman, but essentially this book is about the man himself rather than his achievements; his personal traits & character, his conversation & opinions on all manner of subjects. It's fascinating stuff. If you're interested in Wellington the man, read this book and then visit Stratfield Saye (as I did) - it's the closest you can get to bringing history back to life.
There are some wonderful books on Wellington now available, and this is one of the very best of them.
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Format: Paperback
This book is quite magnificent. It traces the career of this extraordinary and emblematic figure from his schooldays right the way through to his death. Hibbert's research is most comprehensive and assist one greatly in understanding what drove Wellington in thought and action. The balance of the book is good. Due weight is given to the Peninsula Campaign, Waterloo and the final defeat of Napoleon, but great emphasis is placed on Wellington's domestic life, his unhappy marriage and to India where he made his name. An absorbing insight into the lives of one of the greatest Britons and throughly recommended.
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By James Gallen TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 Aug. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have always thought of the Duke of Wellington as the Hero of Waterloo, but little else. In "Wellington, A Personal History" I learned that he was much more.
This book is, as the title indicates, a personal history of the man, rather than a history of his times. The reader learns little of the details of Waterloo, nor does he learn much about the impact of his career on the wider world.
Wellington's story is an interesting one. Born the younger son of lower nobility, his dukedom was earned, rather than inherited. His career was diverse. He fought for the Crown in India before his first encounter with Napoleon's armies in Portugal and Spain during the Peninsular War. The possibility of service in America during the American Revolution was mentioned, but did not occur. The glory which he won at Waterloo was merely a stepping stone to higher service.
After the banishment of Napoleon, Wellington entered the diplomatic service in France. This, coupled with his membership in the House of Lords, led to service as Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, among many other appointments. In office, Wellington was, generally, a supporter of privilege and order. Despite his dominant conservatism, Wellington was flexible enough to adjust to prevailing necessities. Although initially opposed to Catholic Emancipation, he supported Emancipation after concluding that the defeat of Emancipation would have led to more social unrest than the issue was worth. He then not only had to persuade opinion among the Lords and Commons, but also had to overcome the strong opposition of the King in order to get Emancipation passed. This is of particular interest to me, as family legend has it that we are descendants of Daniel O'Connell, whose election to the House of Commons forced the issue.
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Format: Paperback
To be honest, I never had any admiration for military leaders and therefore was never really interested in reading about them. However, I always felt that should have read a book on the first Duke of Wellington as he had been such an important personality. Well, one day I gave myself a push and bought Hibbert' s "Wellington, a Personal History". Having always liked Hibbert' s style and the way he presents the personalities he writes about I hoped that - that reading about the Duke of Wellington would not prove not too hard a struggle. I was not disappointed. The book is - as usual with Hibbert - extremely well written and I discovered much more about the Duke than I imagined there would be. I finished it in no time, got never bored and could complete my picture of the time. So I was actually very pleased that I gave myself a "little push". Not only this but as well the other books Hibbert has written I can recommend. If you never feel very strongly about reading about a specific person and nevertheless have a feeling you actually should do than you will find this book and many of Hibbert' s books of great value and joy. Just to be on the safe side: I do not want to say that his works are "light weights" or too popular. Far from it, but Hibbert has one important gift: he can present difficult subjects in an interesting and very readable manner. So let me say it in the manner of the Eurovision song contest: Here are the votes of the Belgium jury: Hibbert 12 points (or in the amazon review system - 5 stars)
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