At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Friday, May 07, 2004


Esdaile, Charles. The Peninsular War: a new history. Palgrave, 2003.

Choice:"Historian Esdaile (Univ. of Liverpool) separates fact from fiction in his mesmerizing examination of this confused and turbulent period. Deftly weaving battlefield drama with revolution and reaction in politics, he presents a compelling account that analyzes military strategy, problems of supplies and morale, commanders' human failings, and the ever-fragile alliance between England and Patriot Spain. Based heavily on primary materials and larded with wonderful contemporary quotations, this book should be in every college and university library and all major public libraries. Summing Up: Essential. All libraries." Publishers Weekly: “a sure guide…an enthralling narrative…Esdaile paints an indelible picture…His vigorous writing, comprehensive analysis and even-anded judgments make this an indispensable treatment of one of the watersheds of European history.” Library Journal: “Esdaile provides clear, concise accounts of major military actions with the resulting aftermath of murder, plunder, and rape by soldiers on all sides of the conflict…Well written and featuring rational conclusions based on solid research, it is highly recommended for academic libraries with European history graduate programs and large public libraries with European collections.” Guardian: "powerful, absorbing...a detailed military hisotry that will delight battle buffs. Yet Esdaile also embeds this military history in a sophisticated and careful analysis of political and economic developments." H-Net: "This is not an easy story to tell. A scholar must have command over an enormous body of evidence drawn from English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish sources, and must also have a flair for military narrative. Charles Esdaile qualifies on all counts, and his work sets a new standard for the history of the war...Unfortunately, when evaluating the Spanish revolutionaries, Esdaile has a tendency to cite Wellington and other British officers repeatedly and at great length. It would have been interesting to hear more from the Spanish revolutionaries themselves to balance the frankly racist and elitist assessments by British officers." Economist: “a whiff of the anti-hispanic Black Legend still hangs over Mr Esdaile’s account, which all too often stresses the inefficiency and factionalism of local forces. He has done impressive work in the libraries and makes a valiant effort to describe the culture and politics of the war, but he relies overly on British memoirs and dispatches, which inveighed against Spaniards’ cussedness and chaos…”


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home