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Wellington's Smallest Victory by Peter…

Wellington's Smallest Victory (edition 2005)

by Peter Hofschroer

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571324,425 (3.33)None
'A first-class work of historical investigation.' Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon and Wellington The extraordinary story of how one man's obsession to build a huge model of Waterloo - the greatest model of the greatest battle of all time - incurred the wrath of the Duke of Wellington. 'A book that should be read and pondered deeply by anyone interested even vaguely in the Napoleonic wars . . . Hofschr√∂er's impeccable research shows that the Iron Duke was guilty of self-regarding pettiness, obsessive vanity, spin-doctoring and a shameful vendetta against a man whose only crime was to tell the truth.' Daily Express 'Mightily impressive.' Richard Holmes, author of Redcoat 'This important book reveals what happens when a loyal subject runs up against an establishment that will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.' Guardian… (more)
Title:Wellington's Smallest Victory
Authors:Peter Hofschroer
Info:Faber and Faber (2005), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library

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Wellington's Smallest Victory: The Duke, the Model Maker, and the Secret of Waterloo by Peter Hofschroer



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I like this book because it is about a military ego versus the truth.
It was the Iron Duke's contention that the British Army won the battle of Waterloo all by itself. Now the truth was it did not, and if the Battle had ended at 6:30 on the day, it would at best have been a draw. But the Prussians came crashing into the French Right/ rear at that time, bringing about the battle that Napoleon always tried to impose on HIS enemies. It was the perfect Napoleonic battle but his enemies brought it off on him!
Wellington reveals the least lovable side of his character when a low-ranking officer, Lt. William Sibourne, was commissioned by the United Services Museum
to recreate a scale model of the battle at the "Moment of Victory" (7:15PM).

Siborne was a careful researcher, and collected over 3000 letters from all the armies present on the battlefield and polled the witnesses for topographical information. His actions created the modern style of battle reportage. His diorama contained over 80,000 three dimensional, hand-painted model soldiers, (thus changing the model soldier business with his emphasis on three dimensional models as opposed to the style of "Flats" that had preceded it.) and was as accurate as he could make it. It wasn't good enough for the Duke.

Though the duke could not see the whole battlefield from his position, he held that Sibourne had been "Hoodwinked by the Prussians" and that the crucial movement of the battle was the British charge following the repulse of the French Guard by the British centre. The fact that the Prussians were at that point pressing into the centre of Napoleon's Army, after four hours of bitter fighting on their part, was ignored by the Iron duke.
The book continues with the acts of vindictiveness that the Duke expressed in blighting Siborne's further, sad, military career. It was indeed, Wellington's smallest victory. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 11, 2014 |
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