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Wellington's Spies (Kindle)

Napoleonic Peninsular War Military

By Mary McGrigor
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 1.9 MB (.mobi)
Illustrations: 16
ISBN: 9781781596722
eBook Released: 1st August 2007

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Intelligence was just as important in the Napoleonic Wars as it is today. Then there was only one way of obtaining it; by spies and informers. The Author uses first hand accounts of three of Wellington's most daring and successful Intelligence Officers. The three men, all of Scottish descent, were very different in character. One was killed in action and another taken prisoner and after narrowly avoiding summary execution made a dramatic escape. There is a romantic angle too.

Their stories skilfully interwoven against the backdrop of the brutal Peninsular War where atrocities were common place. This book gives a fresh insight into Wellington's remarkable triumph over Napoleon's armies.

This is a story of three men parts of which, if told as fiction, would be seen as taking things too far. Who would believe that an army officer in uniform and in their right mind, would take a journey of a few hundred miles, behind the enemy lines, accompanied by his servant and with various guides? And another who after capture and being held prisoner in Paris continues to send valuable information back to the commander in the Peninsular? The adventures of the three principals is well told against the background of the Peninsular war. The author, Mary McGrigor, has an easy, readable presentation of the facts and uses lots of extracts from the men’s journals and other official papers to support her words. Here are rich insights into the character of a certain class of men of that period. They don’t all have it easy and they don’t all survive but to say more would be to spoil the story.
This book takes a different, fascinating angle on life in the British army for three men in the Peninsular war. It can be read as a novel but it is so much more than that. We highly recommend it.

Read the full review here

Clash of Steel

This is a rather good read that underlines the essential role of information in conditioning battlefield decisions. Wellington’s Spies offers insight into the valued efforts of what were essentially daring adventurers who were able to cross lines to discover information and return with added value. It was by no means unique to Wellington and this book should not be read without reference to the equally daring exploits of Charles Schulmeister on behalf of Napoleon before and during the Ulm/Austerlitz campaign in 1805.

Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide

Michael McCarthy

About Mary McGrigor

Lady Mary McGrigor is a published historian and author. She lives near Dalmally, Argyll.

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