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Marching, Fighting, Dying (Hardback)

Experiences of Soldiers in the Peninsular War

Colour Books Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic > Peninsular War

By Gareth Glover
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 320
Illustrations: 30 colour & black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526760227
Published: 30th November 2021


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Gareth Glover, who has established a reputation as a leading authority on the Napoleonic Wars, uses letters sent home from the Peninsular War by British soldiers to give a candid account of what it was like to serve in the army during the long campaign against the French. The vivid excerpts, which are set in their historical context by the author’s expert commentary, are largely drawn from the correspondence of the other ranks, and they fully explore the everyday experience of these men through their own words.

Only extracts from letters written during the campaigns are quoted – journals written much later for publication are discounted – so a true picture of life in the army at war comes out directly, as it was perceived at the time. Every aspect of the soldiers’ experience is covered, from the fatigue and discomfort of existence on military service to the reality of combat and their feelings when a comrade was wounded or killed. The letters reveal so much about their attitude to the enemy, civilians and the men who served alongside them.

Since this was the first war in history where regular postal services operated – and since a rising number of soldiers were able to read and write – their letters offer us an insight into men at war that has never been recorded before.

Glover has produced an informative and useful book suitable for students of the Peninsular War and military history in general.

Read the Full Review Here

Beating Tsundoku

"It is a book I found hard to put down. Highly recommended."

The Waterloo Association

This book is Gareth’s 100th title and he is still drawing the vast archives of letters and personal memoirs that he has discovered. The unique part of this book is that only extracts from letters written during the campaigns are quoted.

Gareth uses these contemporary letters to build a vivid picture of life of the British soldiers in the Peninsular War. As the title suggests it is not only the battles that are covered by these letters, it is all the other rigours of life on campaign.

Yet another essential book from this prolific author.

Vic Powell - Portsmouth Napoleonic Society

Spectacular first hand "witting testimony" of the soldiers involved in the peninsular war againts Napoleon.

Books Monthly

This is a super read and those who, like me, are Gareth Glover fans will welcome this as a classic. The author has undertaken wide ranging research into primary sources and most of the text consists of excerpts from letters home from the Peninsular.

Read the full review here

Clash of Steel

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Mr. Glover an independent historian and author with over forty titles published concerning the Napoleonic Wars gives us a taste of the professional British Army fighting Napoleon, with sometimes questionable allies. What did the average British soldier dispatched to the Iberian Peninsula think of the war and their part in it? What was daily living like? Who was a good officer who was a bad one? This gives a very good account of the British Army far from home tasked with stopping Napoleon from controlling the continent.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As the title says, this book contains a vast documentation of british soldier's experiences during the Peninsular Wars told from the PoV of the soldiers (mostly officers) themselves in their letters home.

Compared to other books of the matter, this one focuses only on the personal recollections closer to the time of the wars and discards autobiographies and/or historical fiction books that were published decades after the Napoleonic Wars, because many descriptions of the adventures at the time were filled with extravagant situations that must be taken with a grain of salt. Which makes this book a valuable insight of the time and provides room to ponder what's left out and compare their experiences with ones coming from the perspective of the civilians of the places they invaded.

Great book for anyone interested in a more academic examination of the Napoleonic wars period of history.

NetGalley, Fenriz Angelo

Gareth Glover looks at all aspects of daily life of soldiers, even if the main focus lies on officers, not on common soldiers, which might have provided a slightly different angle. It still gives us valuable insight that later memoirs probably cannot provide.

NetGalley, Anja Kwiatkowski

As is expected of Gareth Glover, this is another excellent insight into the British Army in the Napoleonic Wars. Most of the personal accounts have not been previously included in similar books so offer a different insight in building a picture of the experience of the British soldier in the Iberian Peninsula. It is an absorbing read.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy
 Gareth Glover

About Gareth Glover

Gareth Glover is a former Royal Navy officer and military historian who has made a special study of the Napoleonic Wars for the last thirty years. In addition to writing many articles on aspects of the subject in magazines and journals, his books include From Corunna to Waterloo, Eyewitness to the Peninsular War and the Battle of Waterloo, An Eloquent Soldier, fourteen volumes of The Waterloo Archive, Waterloo: Myth and Reality, The Forgotten War Against Napoleon: Conflict in the Mediterranean 1793-1815, The Two Battles of Copenhagen 1801 and 1807: Britain and Denmark in the Napoleonic Wars and Marching, Fighting, Dying: Experiences of Soldiers in the Peninsular War.

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