By the summer of 1704, Louis XIV's vast armies dominated Europe. France defeated every alliance formed against her and Louis was poised to extend his frontier to the Rhine and install a French prince on the throne of Spain. Two men saved Europe from French military domination: the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy. Marlborough masterminded a brilliant campaign, working with Eugene to surprise the French invaders inside Germany. The rival armies clashed in August and the hitherto unbeaten French were utterly destroyed. Blenheim was a major turning point in European history. Charles Spencer's narrative is drawn from original sources and moves seamlessly from the deliberations of kings and princes to the frontline soldiers. This is the battle that creates the enduring reputation of the British redcoat and shatters the image of the "Sun King" and his mighty army.More
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A fascinating bit of history, succinctly told
Gripping, convoluted, magnificent.
The complexities of a Europe divided between two ruling families - Habsburgs and Bourbons - were clearly explained.
The narrative is delivered by Princess Diana's brother in a clipped, pukka English accent, adding to the 'feel' of the story. It helped immerse the listener in this period of high stakes monarchical face-off.
Ultimately, it is a story that sounds strange to the modern ear: Men willing to face the carnage of 18th Century combat to further the ambitions of remote rulers. And yet it produced remarkable men like Marlborough and Prince Eugene, the military geniuses of their day.
For those not familiar with this period, or why English (later British) troops were marching around central Europe, this is an excellent introduction.
- Amazon Customer