[Reading] ➶ Wellington: A Personal History Author Christopher Hibbert – Multi-channel.co

A Brilliant General, Remembered Most For His Defeat Of Napoleon At Waterloo, Wellington Was Also A Politician Of Commanding Presence Elected Prime Minister In , He Was An Influential Adviser To Kings And Queens, And Became Deeply Involved In All The Major Scandals Of The Time, Delighting In Mixing Himself Up In Other People S Affairs Celebrated For His Sardonic Humor And Savage Rages Which Alternated With Irresistible Charm, He Concealed A Deep Humanity Behind A Veneer Of Aloofness That Gained Him The Sobriquet, The Iron Duke Filled With Fresh Insights On Aspects Of Wellington S Life And Character, Christopher Hibbert Has Shown Once Again Why He Is One Of Our Finest Popular Historians


10 thoughts on “Wellington: A Personal History

  1. says:

    Britain has produced few outstanding generals The late eighteenth century and early nineteenth were no exceptions In fact, British policy tended to focus on sea power and, when it came to war on land, use its money to pay other people to provide armies to do the fighting for us.That makes it all the remarkable that in one man, Wellington, Britain produced an unusually successful general, one who never lost a battle.That statement needs qualifying, however He came extremely close perilously close to losing one, the biggest of his career Waterloo As he admitted himself, it has been a damned nice thing the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life Some extraordinary mistakes by Napoleon, and poor leadership by subordinates on the field itself, combined with the sheer determination of the Prussians to get there in time to play a decisive role, turned what might have been calamitous defeat into a victory that gave Wellington the glorious reputation that he has held ever since.In any case, his military career was by no means his only career Christopher Hibbert does an excellent job of tracing Wellington s continued endeavours, first as a diplomat as the victorious powers decided the fate and map of Europe for at least the next generation, and then as a politician, culminating in his taking office as British Prime Minister.What emerges is a man firmly stuck with the ideas and outlook of the environment in which he grew up, in which only the elite in society was qualified for leadership and power, whether in government or the military Wellington looked after his men, but only insofar as it was necessary to maintain them as an effective fighting force as people he never disguised his contempt for them And they responded in kind, for instance by behaving with vicious brutality in many of the cities they captured in Spain.In later life, as a politician he continued with this dismissive attitude towards the common people, resisting any move to extend their rights and reacting with violence to action to advance their interests or threaten the privileges of the class to which he belonged.He was, despite that, much loved and revered Indeed, he often displayed generosity, especially towards children Sometimes, however, he could be hard and unjust His wife discovered that in the most painful way while Wellington loved many women, even taking over a mistress or two of Napoleon s, he quickly fell out of love with his own wife, whom he treated badly In other words, he was a mixture of many parts Often brilliant, generous, even endearing, he could also be insufferably superior, harsh and ruthless A man of many sides, soldier, diplomat or politician, generous, loving, kind and cruel, he emerges from this fine biography painted with all the complexity he deserves All that Christopher Hibbert captures well.On the other hand, there were moments when I could have done with a little less Hibbert makes it clear that his book is a personal history , but I felt there was than enough for my taste on such matters as Wellington s portraits and his views of the men who painted them That, however, is my taste and others might well particularly enjoy this private side of the life of a public man.In any case, overall I found the biography absorbing and informative.


  2. says:

    This biography of the Duke of Wellington is very readable As its title suggests, it does concentrate on describing the Duke s personality So, if you are looking for detailed descriptions of battles which I was NOT , then this book might disappoint Hibbert s book gives a brilliant overview of the life of a man, who was both Britain s hero, and, occasionally, anti hero He was regarded as being the saviour of Europe having helped to defeat Napoleon Bonaparte at Waterloo, along with his allies the Prussians Although a highly significant victory, it was a nail bitingly close thing What Wellington achieved at Waterloo was to make him a national hero a man whose opinions in many aspects of British political life were both sought and often followed.With conservative small C political views, Wellington played a major part in British politics under several monarchs until his death Like Napoleon, he was popular with women but maybe in a less physical way , many of whom became his close confidantes The one woman, whom he did not usually consider a great blessing in his life, was his adoring, faithful wife Much of this well documented biography of Wellington is based on what his contemporaries wrote about him Their views were often very perceptive Hibbert makes excellent use of these sources and many others to paint a very colourful portrait of a man, who often posed for portrait artists and was at least as much a hero as Winston Churchill was to become The resulting biography is both a good intoduction to the life of Wellington and a joy to read.


  3. says:

    An interesting book that explores the personal side of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington If you are looking for details of his military actions, or even a detailed account of his political life, find another biography.There are many interesting sides to the life of this extraordinary man his disastrous marriage, which he stayed in, his preference for the company and conversation of intelligent women, his wonderful report with children, his at times ridiculous generosity in time and money, his inability to apologise, which he compensated later by an act of kindness these and so much Unlike other biographies I have on Wellington, which give details of his public actions, after reading this I feel I have really got to know the man behind the public mask As Queen Victoria wrote He was the GREATEST man this country ever produced, and the most devoted and loyal subject, and the staunchest supporter the Crown ever had her capitals and italics.A recommended read.


  4. says:

    Did not do a good job with this wasn t fun to read and didn t have anything to say.


  5. says:

    In this 200th year since the battle of Waterloo, many people in the UK certainly, and probably in other countries will have been reminded of the protagonists and something of what the battle was about, and most of those would already be aware that the man who came out on top was the Duke of Wellington I would advise that anyone wanting further details of the battle itself shouldn t bank on this book providing them as there is comparatively very little coverage in this book The reason is that there is so much to get through in the life of Wellington The book is by no means a particularly sympathetic account of his life, it is a bit Cromwell ish warts and all As I made my very enjoyable progress through it though, I found that there was so much to him than I, for one, thought We follow him through childhood, a quite privileged one, and like quite a few other household heroic names, he does not show particular promise at school Once into adulthood though, things quickly start to get going for him, with a rapid rise through the ranks of the army in amongst an entry into public life leading to something else I didn t know, that he was a member of parliament as well as the commander of forces at Waterloo In domestic life, he seems to have married the woman he did for some reason best known to himself, and the author, as it is far from a match made in heaven He seems to be ashamed of his wife, and is rather brutal in her treatment of her, not physically but he seems to view her as a rather inefficient subordinate She must have been aware of the numerous lady friends and confidantes that he gathers over the years, in the same way that their husbands must have been, but this seems to have been accepted by all concerned As mentioned already, the military aspect of his life doesn t seem to last long in terms of this book, and we accompany Wellington as he is transformed into a National Treasure, the go to person for any and all emergency or situation in the country in the early and mid 1800 s He applies himself fully to this role, spending years on senior roles in government, including that of Prime Minister All the while, his esteem grows, and we can still see the results today, wherever who might be reading this piece lives, it s a fair bet that there is a Wellington Road, Street or place not so far away In the meantime, his wife passes away before him and he becomes reclusive, and of course old and frail Deafness probably prevented an even longer career in public life and works than the one he had, but there is no escape from the public adulation, almost to the end he fends off invites and solicitations with letters sent to most of the people concerned that are polite but direct in his refusal to take part, or subscribe to whatever they want of him We hear though that he carries a supply of coins and ribbons to give to the many people, notably old soldiers who remember him from the old days On the face of it this book might be viewed as of interest to historians only, but I found it to be one that demonstrated how little we really know about historic figures and well worth a read.


  6. says:

    The 25 pages I read were excruciating Terribly confusing with little context More descriptive than analytical Assumes reader has knowledge of time period and events that probably should be explained, though I assume a British audience was intended, so maybe they would have the requisite knowledge Overly concerned with scandalous anecdotes of Wellington s upper class world while the writer had this annoying proclivity to inject wholly unnecessary descriptions of minor characters, along the lines of Person A, who was this noble and knew this other person who did this particular thing, described Wellington s appearance as, into the narrative.


  7. says:

    This will probably appeal to Brits than others, but what a fascinating and well researched book I knew nothing of Wellington s life, his victories, his diplomacy, and not least, his political career My next visit to London will definitely include Apsley House on the corner of Hyde Park Highly recommended.


  8. says:

    Really interesting chronicle of an entire life, not just the important interesting bits Says a lot about the man and his times Helps if you have some basic historical contest, though.


  9. says:

    A well researched enjoyable read gives a good account of an interesting and enigmatic man.