On the morning of the battle of Waterloo, the Emperor Napoleon declared that the Duke of Wellington was a bad general, the British were bad soldiers and that France could not fail to have an easy victory. Forever afterwards historians have accused him of gross overconfidence, and massively underestimating the calibre of the British commander opposed to him. Andrew Roberts presents this revisionist view of the relationship between the two greatest captains of their age. Napoleon, who was born in the same year as Wellington - 1769 - fought Wellington by proxy years earlier in the Peninsular War, praising his ruthlessness in private whilst publicly deriding him as a mere "sepoy general". In contrast, Wellington publicly lauded Napoleon, saying that his presence on a battlefield was worth forty thousand men, but privately wrote long memoranda lambasting Napoleon's campaigning techniques. Although Wellington saved Napoleon from execution after Waterloo, Napoleon left money in his will to the man who had tried to assassinate Wellington. Wellington in turn amassed a series of Napoleonic trophies of his great victory, even sleeping with two of the Emperor's mistresses. The constantly changing relationship between these two 19th-century giants forms the basis of this study in pride, rivalry, propaganda, nostalgia, and posthumous revenge.About the Author:
Andrew Roberts took a first in Modern History at Cambridge. He has been a professional historian since the publication of his life of Lord Halifax , The Holy Fox, in 1991, followed by Eminent Churchillians in 1994 . He contributes regularly to the Sunday Telegraph. Lives in Knightsbridge, London, and has two children. His Salisbury won the Wolfson History Prize in 2000. His books include Napoleon and Wellington in 2001, Hitler and Churchill (based on BBC-2 series) in 2003. What Might Have Been (editor) in 2004. His History of the English Speaking Peoples Since 1900 was published in 2006 and won the Walter Bagehot Prize .
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