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Wellington's Command (Hardback)

A Reappraisal of His Generalship in the Peninsula and at Waterloo

Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic > Battle of Waterloo Military > Pre-WWI > Napoleonic > Peninsular War P&S History > By Century > 19th Century

By George E Jaycock
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 20
ISBN: 9781526733535
Published: 23rd October 2019


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The Duke of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo cemented his reputation as a great general and much subsequent writing on his career has taken an uncritical, sometime chauvinistic view of his talents. Little has been published that fully pins down the reality of Wellington’s leadership, clearly identifying his weaknesses as well as his strengths.

George E. Jaycock, in this perceptive and thought-provoking reassessment, does not aim to undermine Wellington’s achievements, but to provide a more nuanced perspective. He clarifies some simple but fundamental truths regarding his leadership and his performance as a commander.

Through an in-depth study of his actions over the war years of 1808 to 1815 the author reassesses Wellington’s effectiveness as a commander, the competence of his subordinates and the qualities of the troops he led. His study gives a fascinating insight into Wellington’s career and abilities. It will be absorbing reading for military historians and for readers with a special interest in the Napoleonic period.

Featured in

SOFNAM - Muster - The Members' Magazine of the National Army Museum

Wellington's way would become the model for the British command system until the end of the Crimean War. The author's success in explaining how this came to be makes for an important book for all enthusiasts of the Napoleonic Wars.

Military History Quarterly, Spring 2020 – reviewed by Thomas Zacharis

As featured in

Australian Army Journal

It is rare that a book comes out that covers well-trodden ground that has so many new and worthwhile insights. Mr. Jaycock has achieved this very rare coup with his book on the Duke of Wellington.

The Napoleonic Historical Society Newsletter

The author has challenged some of the myths and legends of Wellington and the uncritical accounts that have been published. The choice of Wellington to command was not overwhelmingly supported by Horseguards, but his victories placed him in a category of his own during the Napoleonic Wars – Highly Recommended.

Read the full review here


It's a fine book, a history writer's book, if I may make so bold, and very readable, which means that it's a most enjoyable essay on one of the more colourful of Britain's military leaders.

Books Monthly

Featured 'ON THE BOOK SHELF' by Neil Smith

Wargames Illustrated, October 2019

This is a very welcome addition to the debate on Wellington and as such it sets out to be critical, which is no bad thing to question the hagiology that has traditionally been the standard. Clearly Wellington’s leadership style would not be recognised in any modern context of mission command expecting reports to show initiative within a clear objective. The author produces sources and narrative that place Wellington as a retentive character determined to leverage all aspects of command through micro management. Of course it may be that Wellington considered his Corps and Divisional commanders to be incapable of independent thought that would conform to his expectations; hence requiring absolute adherence to his field orders and arguably to the detriment of the opportunities arising on the battlefield. The book is a fascinating read and deserves its place on the shelf with the other books on the great man. Recommended.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About George E Jaycock

George E. Jaycock has had a lifetime of interest in military history and has made a particular study of the wars of the nineteenth century. After retiring as an architect he undertook an MA degree in military history at Buckingham University, completing a thesis on the Duke of Wellington upon which this book is based.

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