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Marlborough's Wars (Paperback)

Eyewitness Accounts, 1702–1713

British History Military 18th Century

By James Falkner
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 256
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781526766649
Published: 14th February 2020

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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 stars

History that doesn't read like history, by that I mean dry and dusty! This is a much appreciated foray into what was known as The Spanish War. It is masterfully retold not as I said with dry facts and maps but with the detailed accounts of those who were there and participated.with the reader gaining an intimate view with all the personal accounts included in the book. Like I said I PREFER/ENJOY history books but they can be so painful to read, the “Marlborough’s Wars” is anything but that kind of journey. Five stars.

NetGalley, Ranger Harper

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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.

NetGalley, Dee Arr

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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.

NetGalley, Shayla McBride

About James Falkner

James Falkner is a leading writer on seventeenth and eighteenth-century warfare and he has made a special study of the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713) and the military exploits of the Duke of Marlborough. His book, Great and Glorious Days: Marlborough's Battles 1704-1709, is one of the outstanding studies of the subject. A former British army infantry officer, he has frequently led tours of the major eighteenth-century battlefields. His most recent books include battlefield guides to Blenheim 1704 and Ramillies 1706, Marlborough Goes to War: Eyewitness Accounts 1702-1713, Marlborough's Sieges, Marlborough's Battlefields, and Fire Over the Rock: The Great Siege of Gibraltar 1779-1783.

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