Marlborough's Wars (Paperback)
Eyewitness Accounts, 1702–1713
Many books have been written about the 1st Duke of Marlborough's famous victories, but none of the previous studies has really concentrated on how the warfare was perceived by the men and women who took part - those who experienced the action at first hand. James Falkner has brought together a vivid selection of contemporary accounts of every aspect of the war to create a panoramic yet minutely detailed picture of those years of turmoil. The story is told through memoirs, letters, official documents, despatches, newspaper reports and eyewitness testimony from the French and Allied sides of the conflict. His linking narrative provides a penetrating analysis of the strategy and tactics of warfare at the time.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Dee Arr
History is always best when seen through the eyes of those who were present, and the author has representation from both sides of the battlefields. In the center of it all is the Duke of Marlborough. One can only marvel at the many years of his life he gave to try to bring an end to The Spanish War, which was fought to keep separate the thrones of France and Spain and to determine who should sit upon the Spanish throne.
Mr. Falkner readily explains the Duke of Marlborough’s military expertise, and a good example of this is the detail of the campaign of 1704 and Marlborough’s subsequent push to winter in France in the Moselle valley. His views are supported by the many excerpts from diaries, letters, and notes that continually fill the pages of this book. The author inserts his descriptions between the first-hand accounts, helping to ensure the recounting is as smooth as possible.
While Marlborough and the Allied forces were fighting in the east, battles were happening in Spain and the author includes a final chapter detailing what happened in the west. Comparing what Marlborough accomplished in his battles versus what happened in Spain only sharpen the image of a great general.
Much appreciated was the extensive bibliography as well as a helpful index. This is a grand retelling of The Spanish War, with the reader gaining an intimate view with all the personal accounts included in the book. While some history books can be dry and extremely difficult to wade through, “Marlborough’s Wars” is anything but. Five stars.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Shayla McBride
History for the non-historian! A first-rate recounting of Marlborough's pivotal campaigns and epic battles, with the added pleasure of many excerpts from not only the subject's letters but those of other officers and common soldiers. The letter describing the depredations of the billeted Grenadiers Rouge was a highlight. The author has not fallen into the I-know-more-than-you trap. Reading thiis excellent history was like talking to a (very knowledgeable) friend.. I cannot speak to scholarly accuracy, but for sheer readability and enjoyment, Marlborough's Wars would be hard to top.