A decent read, covers most of the aspects of the life and career of one of Britain s best known Generals undefeated in battle and someone who carved out many of the victories that made Britain the dominant power in the world.I am not familiar with Holmes other works, this seems to be the work of a military historian The book contains fairly decent descriptions of all the major battles of Wellington s career I was particularly interested in the Battle of Assaye where the British IndianArmy primarily the Madras regiments beat the Maratha Confederacy as well as the Battle of Seringapatam where the Tiger of Mysore Tipu Sultan was defeated and killed.Quick aside I loved the line in the book which describes them finding the body of Tipu The Tiger of Mysore had snarled defiantly to the end Not too often that a decent non fiction book gets to use such prose without trivialising or lionising the subject at hand It then goes on into the Peninsular campaign and finally to the battle of Waterloo For all the symbolism of the battle noteworthy that Wellington almost lost it Had it not been for the Prussian armies that reorganised, resupplied, rerouted itself and engaged the French, Waterloo would have had a different end Curious fact the KGL The King s German Legion a Hanoverian regiment that would distinguish itself many times was comprised of German soldiers They were not always on opposing sides Some of the publications of Sun Tzu s Art of War often include examples of Wellington One of the ones that I remember was regarding the Laying of Plans and how they ought to be flexible The Duke tells his second in command that he cannot reveal his plans has Napolean hadn t revealed his plans to him Holmes gives a different idea He says that Wellington fiercely guarded his plans and shared them with no one at all He was always in the thick of the action, directing the various flanks and columns and corps But the downside was the risk The army would be in chaos had he been shot and killed The last part of the book describes his years in politics and his stint as Prime Minister navigating through the fickle vicissitudes of public favour in those tumultuous times with the nature of government evolving and democracy going through its painful birth In some ways Wellington cuts a Patton esque figure saying that thing that enrages a lot of people Curious perhaps a thing that is part of the personality of a man of action.A thing to note however, is that the book was written as a companion volume to a TV Series on Wellington I am sure some of the colour is lost if the reader hasn t watched any of the TV shows. Mr Holmes outshines us all in typical fashion with his profound insight into the life and story of arguably one of Englands finest generals, Arthur Wellesley the 1st Duke of Wellington What becomes apparent as one reads the book is the exceedingly competent level of detail to which the author conducted his research So much so that he physically retraced the steps of the great man himself, from the imposing bastions of India to the battlefields of the peninsular campaign This book is an important stepping stone into this area of history whereby an individual can acquire a base level before carrying on amassing knowledge at a deeper level To any historian and dare i say patriotic Englishman, this is a must read. 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 BookRichard 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 TimeWellington 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 BadajozE IRON DUKE Is A Beautifully Produced Book, Complete With Stunning Illustrations And Colour Plates Richard Holmes TV Series To Accompany THE IRON DUKE Will Be Lavishly Constructed In Four Parts, And Filmed On Location In Britain, India, Spain, Portugal, France And Belgium really an excellent book, and what a fascinating person While some readers hoping for acomplex account of Wellington s life may be somewhat disappointed with this book, I think it is a great starting point for those interested in the life of the Iron Duke I also recommend watching the documentary alongside this book because they make great components together if you ask me.Holmes gives an insightful account into the career of Arthur Wellesley exploring not just his victories but also the lessons he had to learn during his experience in the military I m also not the biggest fan of politics but the section dealing with Wellington s political career was quite fascinating, especially since he is often considered to be the worst British prime minister in history Quite ironic for the man considered to be the greatest British Napoleonic Wars leader after Admiral Nelson.In conclusion watch the documentary, get the book, and see what you think from there I can understand why it won t appeal to everyone but I remember this being one of the first books that got me into military history and my fascination hasn t changed since. Wellington, The Iron Duke provides a brief summation of the life of Wellington I was probably expecting a lot , particularly after recently reading John Sugden s two volume biography of Nelson Although, the book covers all the major periods of Wellington s life, i.e his early years, time in India, the Peninsular Wars, Waterloo and his later political life, I definitely came away wishing for muchand for acomprehensive treatment I also found the structure of the book a bit disconcerting with each major period of Wellington in a long chapter, with no logical breaks Since the book is not extremely long, these chapters are not long but they seem to go on and on with minimal structure.I am definitely going to be looking for a better and farcomprehensive biography of the Iron Duke The majority of the books I read come from our local regional library and I was quite surprised to find that there are a significant number of books about Napoleon, but this is the only book available about the Wellington I find that a bit ironic Not my favorite biography, but it did provide a foundation about the Duke of Wellington. This is a serviceable biography of Wellington and accomplishes what it sets out to do be an accessible introduction to Wellington s life and times Holmes is certainly an able scholar and researcher, and his prose is very readable I was occasionally disappointed that he was notopinionated than he was He is at his best and most entertaining when he interjects his own voice and delivers some penetrating analysis, often with a clever turn of phrase This style was of course his trademark in his BBC documentaries I often thought he was holding back here in printthan he would like One major shortcoming of the Kindle version, which is what I read, is the lack of maps, timelines, or any other aids Kindle version is text only Found myself going to the online atlases at West Point and doing Google searches to supplement the text I assume the print version has maps so if you can get a hard copy, read that instead of the ebook. A brief ish account of Wellington s career Holmes in a military historian so he tends to be ratherconcerned with battle plans than Wellington s political or private life Nonetheless he writes with a good balance of detail, summary and anecdote, often deferring todetailed accounts Occasionally I got a little lost in Holmes terminology what is the difference between say Light Dragoons and Riflemen but overall it s an enjoyable read However Holmes fails to get inside the mind of the man a difficult target for sure, but to have not attempted it is a failing. Aussie Rick got me reading about the Napoleonic Era 2 years ago and it has been a rich vein of history to explore Really, how many historical figures are known by one name In Wellington The Iron Duke we are introduced to the man credited with ending the threat of Napoleon The book is a companion to the eponymous BBC TV series available on YouTube We follow Wesley Wellesley Wellington from his early childhood, to his days in India through his campaigns in the Peninsular War, ending his military days as the victor at Waterloo and then on to his political career The book frames the man and his role in the era in an easily understood manner A hero with plenty of warts Read the book and then watch the series to see the battle sites and fortifications 4 Stars only because the final part of the book on his political career was not all that interesting. Finally got around to finishing this last night A well researched, well written biography of Wellington, someone I knew of only through Joyce studies and the eponymous Beef, as well as a window into the political military complex of the British Empire at its height Wellington participated in establishing suzerainty over India, ejected the French from Spain, defeated Napolean at Waterloo, and later, as Prime Minister, brokered Irish voting rights into law The little details are what make the book worth the bother Wellington s numerous love affairs, sleeping on table tops after victories, intimidating would be assassins with his horsemanship, and of course his legendary conduct under battle One particular point should be studied Wellington the master of counterinsurgency Wellington studied the local languages of countries where he served, studied their customs, had a direct rapport with foreign soldiers and strove to maintain the wellbeing of the civilians in conquered areas by providing them food and supplies in a culturally sensitive manner I like to think of the British Empire as savage and indifferent But this little glimpse into Wellington s life shows a man whose understanding of the total consequences of strategy is something sorely lacking in our imperial pursuits.