The unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Saul David's comprehensive history, All the King's Men: The British Soldier from the Restoration to Waterloo, read by the actor Sean Barrett. "The British soldier," wrote a Prussian officer who served with Wellington, "is vigorous, well fed, by nature highly brave and intrepid, trained to the most vigorous discipline, and admirably well-armed...
These circumstances explain how this army ... has never yet been defeated in the field." From the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the Downfall of Napoleon in 1815, Britain won a series of major wars against France that enabled her to lay the foundations of a global empire. By Waterloo, she was the paramount maritime and industrial power in the world, and would remain so for much of the nineteenth century.
This is the story of that extraordinary century and a half of martial success and the people who made it possible: the soldier-kings William III and the first two Georges; the generals Marlborough, Wolfe, Moore and Wellington; and the ordinary British redcoats who - despite harsh service conditions that included low pay, poor housing, inadequate food and brutal discipline - rarely let their commanders down in battles as far afield as Blenheim, Plassey, Quebec and Waterloo.
"Filled with swashbuckling derring-do, the reek of blood and gunpowder, combined with shrewd analysis of power, war and psychology." (Simon Sebag Montefiore)
"Those wishing to immerse themselves in this golden age of British military success will relish David's fine piece of history." (Sunday Times)
"At a time when the Army is facing cutbacks while being expected to fight distant, unpopular wars on a shoestring, David's book could not be more topical." (Nigel Jones, Sunday Telegraph)
"A big meaty, satisfying and thought-provoking book, a real achievement." (Patrick Bishop)
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A grand epic
This highly detailed and super interesting book exceeded my expectations on every single level.The narrator was excellant,the facts well researched ,and the story told in a very accessable way.It is quite simply one of the best military/social histories I have listened too-Ive listened to alot as well-BUY THIS BOOK NOW
Not quite what it's billing suggests
This book purports to be a study of the British Army from the Restoration to Waterloo. In fact, its much more the summary of the British Army's major wars, campaigns and actions as told through 4 of its leading commanders than about the army itself. Certainly there are sections which cover the common soldier's life and lot, and the system for the purchase of commissions, but I expected and would have preferred a more thorough analysis of the army itself - how it was formed, led, fed, moved, and drilled.
The book does provide a great overview from the point of view of wars and campaigns, but overall it felt like it tried to cover too much ground in too little time.
Like most audio books, I think that this should be listened to at double speed, otherwise the narration is simply too slow.
No, absolutely not.
- Gerry "Amateur history buff"