Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War

Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War

by David Gates
     
 

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The Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal was the most bitterly fought contest of nineteenth-century Europe. From 1808 to 1814, Spanish regulars and guerrillas, along with British forces led by Sir John Moore and the duke of Wellington, battled Napoleon's troops across the length and breadth of the Iberian Peninsula. Napoleon considered the war so insignificant that

Overview

The Peninsular War in Spain and Portugal was the most bitterly fought contest of nineteenth-century Europe. From 1808 to 1814, Spanish regulars and guerrillas, along with British forces led by Sir John Moore and the duke of Wellington, battled Napoleon's troops across the length and breadth of the Iberian Peninsula. Napoleon considered the war so insignificant that he rarely bothered to bring to it his military genius, relying instead on his marshals and simultaneously launching his disastrous Russian campaign of 1812. Yet the Peninsular War was to end with total defeat for the French, and in 1813 Wellington's army crossed the Pyrenees into mainland France. What Napoleon had called "the Spanish ulcer" ultimately helped bring down the French empire. Michael Howard of Oxford University hailed this book as "a major achievement...the first brief and balanced account of the war to have appeared within our generation." Illustrated with over a hundred maps and fifty contemporary drawings and paintings, this is a richly detailed history of a crucial period in history that resonates powerfully to this day—and figures prominently in Bernard Cornwell's internationally acclaimed novels of the Napoleonic era.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1808, on the Iberian peninsula, Napoleon began a six-year war of attrition against Spain and its British and Portuguese allies. Expecting a quick victory, the French emperor instead found himself facing a strong foe (led by Britain's Duke of Wellington), including popular opposition in the form of guerrilla bands, and constant supply and communications problems. In this thorough military history, Gates, a university lecturer in Scotland, offers a battle-by-battle account of the war in its various theaters, with maps and other illustrations. His descriptions of the brutal fighting on barren terrain are clear and balanced, making this a valuable modern view of the conflict. He likens the ``Spanish Ulcer,'' as the ultimately devastating defeat of Napoleon was called, to the present-day Soviet attempt to impose rule against the popular will in Afghanistan. History Book Club selection. (April 21)
Library Journal
The Peninsular War of 1807-14, now aptly known as Napoleon's Vietnam, has long been the subject of serious military study. This new book by a dependable historian updates the extensive literature on the subject and condenses it into a useful and readable volume. There is little in the way of interpretation beyond the traditional anti-Napoleonic bias of British writers, but Gates presents a solid nuts-and-bolts overview of a complex and particularly nasty war. He is deft at reducing the mass of names, battles, and dates into an enticing narrative, and numerous maps make it easy to follow each siege and skirmish. This book will be valuable to academics and enjoyed by lay historians. History Book Club selection. Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306810831
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
10/23/2001
Pages:
576
Sales rank:
570,876
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 8.86(h) x 1.37(d)

Meet the Author

David Gates lives in Lancashire, England.

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