The Iron Duke
Date of publication: February 2003
Publisher: Harper Collins
Richard Holmes, highly acclaimed military historian and broadcaster, tells the exhilarating story of Britain's greatest-ever soldier, the man who posed the most serious threat to Napoleon. The Duke of Wellington's remarkable life and extraordinary campaigns are recreated with Holmes' superb skill in this compelling book. Richard Holmes charts Wellington's stellar military career from India to Europe, and in the process, rediscovers the reasons Queen Victoria called him the greatest man the nineteenth century had produced.
Combining his astute historical analysis with a semi-biographical examination of Wellington, Holmes artfully illustrates the rapid evolution in military and political thinking of the time. Wellington is a brilliant figure, idealistic in politics, cynical in love, a wit, a beau, a man of enormous courage often sickened by war. As Richard Holmes charts his progress from a shy, indolent boy to commander-in-chief of the allied forces, he also exposes the Iron Duke as a philanderer, and a man who sometimes despised the men that he led, and was not always in control of his soldiers. Particularly infamous is the bestial rampage of his men after the capture of Cuidad Rodgrigo and Badajoz.