This account of the final years of Britain's long war against Revolutionary and Napoleonic France places the conflict in a new―and wholly modern―perspective. Rory Muir looks beyond the purely military aspects of the struggle to show how the entire British nation played a part in the victory. His book provides a total assessment of how politicians, the press, the crown, civilians, soldiers, and commanders together defeated France.
Beginning in 1807 when all of continental Europe was under Napoleon's sway, the author traces the course of the war through the Spanish uprising of 1808, the campaigns of the Duke of Wellington and Sir John Moore in Portugal and Spain, and the crossing of the Pyrenees by the British army, to the invasion of southern France and the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Muir sets Britain's military operations on the Iberian Peninsula within the context of the wider European conflict, and he examines how diplomatic, financial, military, and political considerations combined to shape policy and priorities. Just as political factors influenced strategic military decisions, Muir contends, fluctuations of the war affected British political decisions.
The book is based on a comprehensive investigation of primary and secondary sources, and on a thorough examination of the vast archives left by the Duke of Wellington. Muir offers vivid new insights on the personalities of Canning, Castlereagh, Perceval, Lord Wellesley, Wellington, and the Prince Regent, along with fresh information on the financial background of Britain's campaign. This vigorous narrative account will appeal to general readers and enthusiasts of the Napoleonic era, as well as academics with an interest in early nineteenth-century British political or military history.