Wellington's Wars The Making of a Military Genius Huw J. Davies

Publication date:
15 Nov 2014
Yale University Press
336 pages: 225 x 144 x 24mm
13 b-w illus. + 12 maps
Sales territories:


Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

A provocative reappraisal of Wellington's military career, his victory at Waterloo, and the source of his genius as a general

Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, lives on in popular memory as the "Invincible General," loved by his men, admired by his peers, formidable to his opponents. This incisive book revises such a portrait, offering an accurate—and controversial—new analysis of Wellington's remarkable military career. Unlike his nemesis Napoleon, Wellington was by no means a man of innate military talent, Huw J. Davies argues. Instead, the key to Wellington's military success was an exceptionally keen understanding of the relationship between politics and war.

Drawing on extensive primary research, Davies discusses Wellington's military apprenticeship in India, where he learned through mistakes as well as successes how to plan campaigns, organize and use intelligence, and negotiate with allies. In India Wellington encountered the constant political machinations of indigenous powers, and it was there that he apprenticed in the crucial skill of balancing conflicting political priorities. In later campaigns and battles, including the Peninsular War and Waterloo, Wellington's genius for strategy, operations, and tactics emerged. For his success in the art of war, he came to rely on his art as a politician and tactician. This strikingly original book shows how Wellington made even unlikely victories possible—with a well-honed political brilliance that underpinned all of his military achievements.

Huw J. Davies is lecturer in defense studies, King's College, London, and the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Defence Academy, UK. He lives in Berkshire, UK.

“Davies offers a provocative and persuasive perspective on the duke of Wellington as a great captain.”—Publishers Weekly

"Huw J. Davies should be congratulated on producing such an original treatment of Wellington's development."—Jonathan Eaton, Military History

"Well written, with a strong human interest dimension. . . . Deserves a wide readership."—Gary Sheffield, BBC History Magazine

"Highly original, audaciously irreverent and yet admirably scrupulous."—Michael Kerrigan, The Scotsman