On Wellington: The Duke and His Art of War, by Jac Weller, edited by Andrew Uffindell, Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, Pa., 1998, $34.95.
When Arthur Wellesley arrived in India in February 1797, he was an obscure 28-year-old colonel commanding the 33rd Regiment of Foot. Although he displayed promise during his years in India, Wellesley’s reputation was still modest at best when he arrived in Portugal in August 1808. By the time he returned to Britain in 1814, however, Wellesley–now the Duke of Wellington–was a field marshal and a living legend. After the Battle of Waterloo the following year, he secured a place among the great military commanders of all time.
For all his fame, surprisingly little of Wellington’s career is known outside of his exploits during the Peninsular War and at Waterloo. On Wellington: The Duke and His Art of War, goes a long way toward filling that gap with a collection of 11 essays, six of which were previously unpublished, exploring many facets of the man whose influence, especially in terms of logistics, is still felt in today’s military. Editor Jac Weller, recognized as the foremost authority on the duke, was often assisted in his research by his wife, Cornelia, who was also co-author of several of the essays.
Although not meant to be the final word on his life and career, On Wellington: The Duke and His Art of War comes highly recommended to the enthusiast interested in an increased overall understanding of one of history’s great military figures.
B. Keith Toney