Napoleon and Wellington

ebook / ISBN-13: 9780297865261

Price: £16.99

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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.
‘Thoroughly enjoyable, beautifully written and meticulously researched’ Observer

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.


Andrew Roberts' excellent book strips away the clichéd public statements and looks at the real relationship between the two greatest commanders of their age. It is a fascinating tale. The core of this splendid and thoughtful book is ultimately his judgement on the two men and their record
David Chandler, RUSI JOURNAL
He writes so well that his new book will find a ready audience among admirers of both his protagonists
Roberts gives his reader a wonderful account of a relationship that occurred in two men's heads
Timothy Wilson-Smith, THE TABLET
Roberts has assembled a rare wealth of material, and his love for his venture is evident
A must-have for anyone interested in Napoleonic history, Napoleon and Wellington is an easy read, containing a wealth of information. Highly recommended, this work is destined to become a classic
Roberts offers a master class in how to write a historical magnum opus; filled with anecdotes and observations to inform and entertain the general reader, yet with the structure and academic rigour to satisfy the most demanding Napoleonic scholar ... intellectual tour de force
Roberts does his best throughout this thoughtful and absorbing book to hold the balance between his protagonists both as soldiers and men
The book is thoroughly enjoyable, beautifully written and meticulously researched
Jason Bourke, OBSERVER
What Roberts has delivered is a thoughtful, witty and authoritative study that focuses on the relationship between the two great soldiers and how they regarded each other, as soldiers and as men
Richard Pearson, WASHINGTON POST
This is narrative history, readable, well-researched and lively as dry champagne
Jane Ridley, SPECTATOR
In Roberts' sensitive hands the two men come fully alive, along with their campaigns and their battles. He understands military matters as he does human - a rare accomplishment
Eric Jacobs Broadway, HAM AND HIGH
Roberts has done the study of the Napoleonic era a tremendous amount of good by opening up the minds of the rivals to public gaze. It is true to say that having read Napoleon and Wellington, you will look at the great struggle in a very different light
Andrew Roberts has entered the lists of Napoleonic historians, tilted at champions and sent many away with bruised and broken bones. Some of them may never recover
Allan Mallinson, THE TIMES
What Mr Roberts has done so admirably is uncover the human responses between two men who might otherwise be just dry political or military figures, and he has added a new and valuable dimension to our understanding of the Napoleonic age in doing so
Simon Heffer, COUNTRY LIFE
Andrew Roberts's Napoleon and Wellington draws us right into the minds of two of the world's greatest generals. Roberts is an excellent non-academic historian
[A] brilliant double portrait
Philip Mansel, MAIL ON SUNDAY
Roberts sets out to explore each man's contrasting qualities and their opinion of each other. In the process he has uncovered a number of corporeal connections: some enchanting, some mysterious, and others unsavoury
Roger Hutchinson, THE SCOTSMAN
It is one of Andrew Roberts's merits that, as well as being intelligent, hard-working and opinionated, he gets great fun out of his writing. His books are consequently not only genuinely important but also a pleasure to read
Truly a brilliant work, sparkling with the reflected fascination of the subject interspersed with the judicious comments of the author
Andrew Roberts, the political biographer whose life of Lord Salisbury won him the Wolfson Prize for 1999, now brings the same qualities of insight and judgment to the field of military history
Correlli Barnett, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
History has just replaced cooking and gardening as the sexiest and most bankable contemporary subject in publishing. If that is so, the prolific and consistently brilliant historian Andrew Roberts must take much of the credit
Robert Beaumont, YORKSHIRE POST
Andrew Roberts has given us a double biography, written with tremendous pace and verve