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Beschreibung des Verlags
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, lives on in popular memory as the "Invincible General," loved by his men, admired by his peers, formidable to his opponents. This incisive book revises such a portrait, offering an accurate—and controversial—new analysis of Wellington's remarkable military career. Unlike his nemesis Napoleon, Wellington was by no means a man of innate military talent, Huw J. Davies argues. Instead, the key to Wellington's military success was an exceptionally keen understanding of the relationship between politics and war.
Drawing on extensive primary research, Davies discusses Wellington's military apprenticeship in India, where he learned through mistakes as well as successes how to plan campaigns, organize and use intelligence, and negotiate with allies. In India Wellington encountered the constant political machinations of indigenous powers, and it was there that he apprenticed in the crucial skill of balancing conflicting political priorities. In later campaigns and battles, including the Peninsular War and Waterloo, Wellington's genius for strategy, operations, and tactics emerged. For his success in the art of war, he came to rely on his art as a politician and tactician. This strikingly original book shows how Wellington made even unlikely victories possible—with a well-honed political brilliance that underpinned all of his military achievements.
British defense analyst Davies offers a provocative and persuasive perspective on the duke of Wellington as a great captain. Davies, a lecturer at King's College, London, acknowledges the general's qualities as a soldier: solid judgment, strength of character, ability to "translate frequently murky political objectives into clear-sighted military objectives...." Wellington could coordinate troops in an operational theater and outthink his enemies in battle. He was lucky, never suffering worse than a bruise. The duke relied excessively on his own judgment and intuition, regularly misunderstanding both his enemies and his allies. But, Davies asserts, Wellington's military genius reflected less his soldierly kills than his profound understanding of politics. Wellington was exposed from the beginning of his career to the tensions making military victory contingent on balancing conflicting political priorities. In India he learned how to deal with uncooperative allies. Facing Napoleon's aggressions, he lobbied the British government on the importance of opposing Napoleon militarily, and fighting to defend Spain, he comprehended the British army as the war's linchpin. At Waterloo he acted on the necessity of ensuring Europe's balance of power. "Political general," seldom a favorable appellation, is in Wellington's case high praise. 13 illus.; 12 maps.