The best books about Arthur Wellesley (1st Duke of Wellington) 📚

Browse the best books on Arthur Wellesley as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation

The Duke of Wellington, Kidnapped!: The Incredible True Story of the Art Heist That Shocked a Nation

By Alan Hirsch

Why this book?

If you saw the recent film, The Duke, then you’ll know the story of Kempton Bunton and the crazy art heist from London’s National Gallery, when Goya’s Portrait of the Duke of Wellington was stolen. This is one of the most interesting and quirkiest of all art heists and this book is the definitive telling of it.

From the list:

The best books on art crime: theft, looting, and forgery

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Book cover of Napoleon Surrenders

Napoleon Surrenders

By Gilbert Martineau

Why this book?

As I fingered a copy of Napoleon Surrenders in a second-hand bookshop, a passing stranger said to me, "Read anything by Martineau, it’s all good, and that one is brilliant." Encouraged, I willingly paid £2 for my copy. Well, I have never spent so well! This detailed account whisks us from the evening after Waterloo to HMS Northumberland under sail for St Helena. Until I read this book, it was too easy to see Bonaparte’s story as over once he was defeated by the Duke of Wellington. But Martineau changed my mind. He crafts the story of those agonising months…

From the list:

The best books for getting inside Napoleon Bonaparte’s head

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Book cover of Wellington: The Years of the Sword

Wellington: The Years of the Sword

By Elizabeth Longford

Why this book?

I read this when I was reading Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe books, and I thought Longford’s account of a flawed but brilliant man was astounding. Very readable with in-depth insight and research. It sparked a lifelong fascination with the Peninsular War.

From the list:

The best books with first-hand accounts of warzones

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Book cover of The Peninsular War: A New History

The Peninsular War: A New History

By Charles J. Esdaile

Why this book?

Charles Esdaile, a specialist of Spanish history, is one of the more prolific writers on the Napoleonic Wars, so it was not easy choosing only one of the numerous books he has penned, including a general history of the wars. Spain, however, has always remained a bit of an outlier in the history of the period. Here we get an insider’s view of the situation in Spain leading to the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy and an accessible, lively account of the often complicated events that followed. Esdaile doesn’t shy away from treating either the Spanish, the guerrillas, or Wellington…

From the list:

The best books about the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on Europe

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Book cover of An Infamous Army: A Novel of Wellington, Waterloo, Love and War

An Infamous Army: A Novel of Wellington, Waterloo, Love and War

By Georgette Heyer

Why this book?

What to choose from this unique writer, who brought the Regency back into 21st century fashion with her large catalogue of novels? I love them all. They’re uniformly hilarious, adventurous, and full of mind-boggling, funny dialogue. Her detailed research is never more brilliantly revealed than in this novel, which is still highly prized by senior military figures as the greatest account of the Battle of Waterloo. All this, in a novel which succeeds on its own terms as a story. What more could one want?

From the list:

The best books for Regency wars, wit, & wisdom

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