Wellington Against Soult (Paperback)
The Second Invasion of Portugal 1809
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At the heart of David Buttery’s third book on the Peninsular War lies the comparison between two great commanders of enormous experience and reputation – Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, and Jean de Dieu Soult. In Soult, Wellesley met one of his most formidable opponents and they confronted each other during one of the most remarkable, and neglected, of the Peninsular campaigns. Soult’s invasion of Portugal is rarely studied in great depth and, likewise, the offensive Wellesley launched, which defeated and expelled the French, has also received scant coverage. As well as giving a fresh insight into the contrasting characters of the two generals, the narrative offers a gripping and detailed, reconstruction of the organization and experience of a military campaign 200 years ago.
I always like a military book that puts the maps at the front of the book for instance reference. This the book does, providing the reader with maps of the geography of Portugal in 1809, the second invasion of Portugal, February-March 1809, the Allied march North, and the Passage of Douro, 12th May, 1809, alongside Soult’s retreat. Also, at the front of the book is an extremely useful and exhaustively detailed timeline, constructing events from 1769, with the birth of Jean de Dieu Soult, the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, the deceleration of war on France by Britain in 1804, to death of Duke of Wellington in 1852. This provides an excellent reference whilst reading through the events as they unfolded in the content of the book.Jon Sandison
Overall this is an enjoyable read.Wargames Illustrated - reviewed by Dom Sore
As featured inGloire & Empire no.68
Overall, this book was very interesting. A relatively little known story, with episodes of true heroism, clever strategies, tenacious resistance, and horrible atrocities.Dr John Viggers, Freelance
In Marshal Soult, Lieutenant General Wellesley faced arguably one of his most formidable opponents in the Iberian Peninsula. The author of this new book argues that the Marshal’s invasion of Portugal is rarely studied in any depth and, similarly, the offensive Wellesley launched, which defeated and expelled the French, has also received only scant coverage. The author follows the course of the campaign, drawing contrasts between the characters and styles of the opposing commanders. Some key episodes include Wellesley’s marked change of strategy as he took command of the allied troops in Portugal, from defence to attack, the liberation of Porto, Portugal’s second city from French occupation, and the dogged recovery of Soult’s army as it fought its way back to Spain. Further, Soult’s attempt to become king of Portugal and the ungracious reaction of Parliament where Wellesley was criticised for recklessness are among numerous other aspects of this previously under recorded episode of the Peninsular War. The book opens with an extensive chronology, followed by a preface.Stuart Asquith, Author
Also included are 30 monochrome plates, five maps, text notes, a bibliography and an index. A fascinating addition to the Napoleonic bookshelf and surely a ‘must’ for those particularly interest in the Peninsular War. Recommended.