Book Title: Wellington's Operations in the Peninsula 1808-1814 : Volume 1-Invasion to the Battle of Albuera, 1811
Author: Tara Westover
Format: Paperback | 340 pages
Publication Date: 11 Mar 2011
Volume 1-Invasion to the Battle of Albuera, 1811 The author of this history of Wellington's Peninsular War, Captain Lewis Butler of the Rifles, declares himself at the outset to be a disciple of William Napier and an enthusiastic student of that 'incomparable classic' for which Napier is principally known. His objective is to provide a 'concise' history of the conflict for those who may lack the capacity or time to engage with Napier's massive opus. Readers should note that the author actually sells himself somewhat short. In fact, Butler's work encompasses the entire war-not confining itself only to Wellington's involvement as his title suggests. Within the two substantial volumes-concise being a relative term-of his history he gives us his own narrative of the war in an easy to read but thorough and engaging style. Modern students have often taken the criticism (by others) of Butler's mentor Napier as 'given wisdom.' Much controversy concerning Napier's history originated from those involved in the war, who had personal reasons for taking exception to his perspectives, this did not therefore mean that he was inevitably wrong. The view that his is an overworked reference in no way detracts from its value-particularly for those not familiar with it. Furthermore, Butler points out that his history contains 'certain points of military detail which are omitted from or in all events not prominently brought forward' by Napier in his work. The coy tone and often apologetic conventions of 19th century prefaces are often not in the best service of the reader in enabling one to appreciate the full merits of the work in hand. Modern readers may be assured that Butler's is an excellent, original account in its own right and not-irrespective of the value of such a work-an edited rewrite of Napier. It will both interest general readers and be a valuable addition to every library of the history of the Napoleonic Wars.
Volume one provides a background to the conflict, the campaigns to Rolica, Vimeiro, Corruna, Saragossa, Talavera, Torres Vedras, Ciudad Rodrigo, the Coa, Busaco, Barossa, Fuentes d'Onoro and all the events leading to Albuera in 1811-essentially the first three years of the war in detail. Available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket.