qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

The Great and the Good

Book Review: Wellington - A Personal History, by Christopher Hibbert
I bought this book a few years ago during a visit to Apsley House. It's comprehensive without being too in-depth, from a relatively obscure and unpromising childhood, through military service in India to the Peninsula War and Waterloo, then on to Wellington's diplomatic and political career, and transformation to Victorian elder statesman. The picture that comes across is unambiguously heroic and dutiful, often entertaining, but also tetchy and moody, particularly in later life. In many ways, Wellington seems to compare to Churchill, with tremendous popularity for his leadership that may seem at odds with some of his more conservative opinions. There's an interesting suggestion that an iron steamship launched at Merseyside, named The Duke of Wellington, was known locally as "the Iron Duke", may have given rise to the popular name for the Duke, though it may also have come from the iron shutters on Apsley House and cited in Punch in 1842. The style is factual and quite dry, but never too dry on this interesting historical figure.
Tags: books
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