Wellington: A Personal History Paperback – 7 May 2010
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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'
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another goodie from hibbert,but nothing beats his nelson bookPublished 10 months ago by Martin F. Syrett
Biographies sometimes take a form that reflects the subject, and this work is a bit of a slow-burner, as was Wellington, from the undistinguished and unpromising school career, the... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Simba the Lion
Excellent. Christopher Hibbert has a fine writing style which brings events and people to life. This is the best biography of Wellington I have read and I will be buying more... Read morePublished 24 months ago by A R Armitage
Hibbert has done it again, and written a portrait. Starting from youth, and going through to age, Hibbert presents a balanced, judicious account of Wellington's life, that shows us... Read morePublished on 13 Mar. 2014 by A. McGuire
Excellent.Very informative.Easy to read. Gives a real insight into Arthur Wellesley the man. I can definitely recommend this. Especially having visited Stratfield SayePublished on 16 Jan. 2014 by Renee
Its ironic that we now remember the Duke of Wellington best for Waterloo, a battle that he won only with the tardy arrival of the Prussians, and one which he described as 'close... Read morePublished on 26 Nov. 2012 by Ed Foye
The beauty of this book is it concentrates on the character and events of the man behind the legend, without delving into speculative psycho-babble. Read morePublished on 17 Feb. 2012 by John Fareham