This is a difficult book to review because it has a clear objective, but will appeal to a potentially large additional readership for many different reasons. It is a work of scholarship and has been almost a lifetime’s endeavour by the authors, continuing on into their retirement. It follows on from Volume One, covering M to Z. It is a hefty volume and the cover price is not unreasonable for such a work. Some may argue that it is a very competitive price for a book of this type and quality. Strongly recommended.
NAME: Wellington’s Men Remembered, Volume 2, a register of memorials to soldiers who fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo, M to Z
AUTHOR: Janet & David Bromley
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Peninsular War, Napoleonic War, Battle of Waterloo, Duke of Wellington, memorials, cameos, soldiers, careers
DESCRIPTION: This is a difficult book to review because it has a clear objective, but will appeal to a potentially large additional readership for many different reasons. It is a work of scholarship and has been almost a lifetime’s endeavour by the authors, continuing on into their retirement. It follows on from Volume One, covering M to Z. It is a hefty volume and the cover price is not unreasonable for such a work. Some may argue that it is a very competitive price for a book of this type and quality. Strongly recommended.
Historically, a book like this would be stocked by every self-respecting public library and every library in places of learning. Outside that, serious researchers and enthusiasts would aspire to their own private copy and the total sales would be very respectable, with so many more people benefiting from library access. Sadly, public lending libraries, and some educational libraries, have closed, or severely restricted, their purchase of new books. This is an outrage and frequently a very political act to highlight a period of financial restraint. The publishers are renowned for their aggressive marketing and some fantastic promotional discounts, so it is not all bad news, just a sad reflection on political values and a great shame that some potential readers may miss out.
The basic objective of the authors has been to produce the most comprehensive memorial possible for the officers and men who served with Wellington and helped to create a long period of peace in Europe. They also created the opportunity for Britain’s dash for Empire. This, and the first volume, together provide an alphabetic list of soldiers from A to Z. The amount of effort that has gone into researching and producing these two volumes is epic. Few would have stood the pace over decades and the world is all the richer for it. It is moving that authors and publishers are still prepared stick to a task of this magnitude.
Had the authors confined their efforts to just recording a list of names, together with the units that they served in during the Peninsular War and/or the Battle of Waterloo, it would have been a magnificent effort and of great value to historians, enthusiasts and the descendants of those recorded. However, they have done so much more. Many of those remembered have their own military career recorded from the day they joined to their death or retirement. Naturally, the amount of detail varies by entry because of a lack of available information for some. By including so much detail, the authors have provided a treasure trove for descendants and historians, but there is a further very serious additional advantage.
Some soldiers, enlisted or commissioned, began their service during the French Revolutionary War or the Napoleonic Wars. As the starting age could be very young, many of these soldiers served in the Peninsular War and went on to serve at Waterloo and then on through the expansion of the British Empire and its series of wars, including the Indian Mutiny. A period of fifty years service was not unusual and even then it might be terminated by death from wounds, the soldier being perhaps in his early sixties.
To read this book from cover to cover, after having read the first volume, is a significant task that would probably be accomplished by reading a number of entries and then returning to read a further set until reaching the last entry in the second volume. Perhaps, few will accomplish the task. Those that do will have collected a series of impressions that will give them a remarkable understanding of the commander and his men. It will provide extraordinary insights into the wars with Napoleon and the many battles, large and small that stretched through the first half of the 19th Century.
We must salute the authors and appreciate the publisher. This reviewer hopes that the book, and its earlier volume, are read by many