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The Great and the Good - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
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.


4 comments or Leave a comment
nwhyte From: nwhyte Date: September 14th, 2006 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked this book too - particularly good on his unhappy marriage; though I was touched by the way he seemed to suddenly realise his feelings for his wife when she was dying.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: September 15th, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, good point - he seemed particularly duty-bound on the issue of his marriage, having realised early on that it had perhaps not been the wisest action.
poliphilo From: poliphilo Date: September 15th, 2006 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Wellington was a boyhood hero of mine. I still own a Victorian print of him which my mother bought at an auction for 2/6d.

He was a very wise old monster.
qatsi From: qatsi Date: September 15th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
My history is fairly poor - I dropped it early on at school (not that that would have made much of a difference, I suspect, and it was dropped only because other things took precedence over it) so this was an educational read, too.

I seem to recall my main boyhood hero was Tom Baker.
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