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Napoleon's Cursed War: Popular Resistance in the Spanish Peninsular War

Overview

In this definitive account of the Peninsular War (1808–14), Napoleon’s six-year war against Spain, Ronald Fraser examines what led to the emperor’s devastating defeat against the popular opposition—the guerrillas—and their British and Portuguese allies. As well as relating the histories of the great political and military figures of the war, Fraser brings to life the anonymous masses—the artisans, peasants and women who fought, suffered and died—and restores their role in this barbaric war to its rightful place ...
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Overview

In this definitive account of the Peninsular War (1808–14), Napoleon’s six-year war against Spain, Ronald Fraser examines what led to the emperor’s devastating defeat against the popular opposition—the guerrillas—and their British and Portuguese allies. As well as relating the histories of the great political and military figures of the war, Fraser brings to life the anonymous masses—the artisans, peasants and women who fought, suffered and died—and restores their role in this barbaric war to its rightful place while overturning the view that this was a straightforward military campaign. This vivid, meticulously researched book offers a distinct and profound vision of “Napoleon’s Vietnam” and shows the reality of the disasters of war: the suffering, discontents and social upheaval that accompanied the fighting.
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Editorial Reviews

Carlos Martinez Shaw - El Pais
“Fraser has re-created a world, barely glimpsed by previous historians, of the
Spanish popular resistance and suffering during the anti-Napoleonic war
… An excellent work.”
Ricardo Garcia Carcel - ABC
Napoleon’s Cursed War marks a fundamental milestone in the war’s historiography, both past and future. It is a superb complement to Fraser’s classic Blood of Spain, of ‘history from below’.”
Luis Ribot - El Mundo
“Fraser has breathed life into a historic era… The real protagonist of his work is the people and their tragedy.”
Andreu Mayayo - El Periodico de Catalunya
“Like Goya in The Disasters of War,
Fraser has engraved in the written word the spirit and sacrifices of the popular anti-Napoleonic resistance, a precursor of the anti-fascist resistance of the [Spanish] Civil War.”
From the Publisher
“Fraser has re-created a world, barely glimpsed by previous historians, of the Spanish popular resistance and suffering during the anti-Napoleonic war ... An excellent work.”—Carlos Martinez Shaw, El Pais

Napoleon’s Cursed War marks a fundamental milestone in the war’s historiography, both past and future. It is a superb complement to Fraser’s classic Blood of Spain, of ‘history from below.’”—Ricardo Garcia Carcel, ABC

“Fraser has breathed life into a historic era... The real protagonist of his work is the people and their tragedy.”—Luis Ribot, El Mundo

“Like Goya in The Disasters of War, Fraser has engraved in the written word the spirit and sacrifices of the popular anti-Napoleonic resistance, a precursor of the anti-fascist resistance of the [Spanish] Civil War.”—Andreu Mayayo, El Periodico de Catalunya

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844670826
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 3/30/2008
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Fraser is the leading oral historian of twentieth-century Spain. He is the author of several books, including In Hiding, In Search of a Past, Blood of Spain and Napoleon’s Cursed War.
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Table of Contents

Maps
Glossary
Chronology
1 Spain and the French Connection 1
2 Preliminaries of War 27
3 The First Shots of the War 56
4 Declaration of War: The National Rising 82
5 New Self-Government: The Juntas 124
6 Early Victories and Defeats: Lessons of the Popular War 154
7 Soldiers at the Front and Rural Conflict in the Rear 178
8 Fatherland and Nation: A National Patriotic Government 189
9 Napoleon's 1808 Offensive 210
10 The Contagion of Defeat: Popular Revolts and Local Resistance 234
11 1809 250
12 Popular Territorial Liberation Struggles: Galicia and Cataluna 284
13 The Church at War 316
14 Origins of the Guerrilla 335
15 From the Battle of Talavera to the Suprema's Demise 348
16 1810-1811 364
17 The Invisible Army: Guerrilla Successes and Failures 390
18 1812-1814 432
19 Military Victory and Political Defeat 464
Epilogue 482
Appendix 1 485
Appendix 2 490
Appendix 3 492
Appendix 4 497
Appendix 5 513
Notes 522
Bibliography 561
Index 575
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