Duke of Wellington

by Christopher Hibbert

Hardcover, 1997




Harper Collins (1997)


A bestseller in hardback, this is a highly-praised and much-needed biography of the first Duke of Wellington, concentrating on the personal life of the victor of Waterloo, and based on the fruits of modern research. Christopher Hibbert is Britain's leading popular historian. Wellington (1769-1852) achieved fame as a soldier fighting the Mahratta in India. His later brilliant generalship fighting the French in Spain and his defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo earned him a dukedom and the award of Apsley House (No. 1, London) and a large estate in Hampshire. His second career saw him make his mark as a politician with commanding presence. Appointed Commander-in-Chief for life, he became Prime Minister in 1827 and presided over the emancipation of Roman Catholics and the formation of the country's first police force. Privately, he was unhappily married, and had several mistresses (including two of Napoleon's) and many intimate friendships with women. The private side of the public man has never been so richly delineated as in this masterly biography.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member billiecat
A nice biography by Christopher Hibbert. Although Hibbert disclaims any "in depth" coverage of Wellington's military and political careers, most readers should find what he offers more than sufficient. Hibbert quotes original sources (letters and diaries, mostly) freely and extensively, which lives
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up to his conceit by giving a "personal" feeling to the biography. We are shown Wellington through the eyes of those who knew him, as well as the world through his eyes. Although Hibbert doesn't wallow in salacious details, neither does he polish away Wellington's less attractive qualities (the opposition to reform, his support for flogging, his treatment of his wife), giving the reader confidence in his book and a real sense of the man behind the myth. The extensive citations don't hurt, either.
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LibraryThing member ivanfranko
All you could ask for in a "personal biography". So, there is wide referencing from contemporary memoirs, diaries and accounts from the major figures of the time. Skilfully written with no over concentration on any aspects of the Duke's life, military or political. Accompanied by insightful
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footnotes that are pertinent and topical.
I read the book because I'm a resident of Wellington, NZ and much the wiser for having done so. Sadly, he was a complete bastard to his wife.
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