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The savage storm : Britain on the brink in the age of Napoleon /
David Andress.
imprint
London : Little, Brown, 2012.
description
xv, 428 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1408701928 (hbk), 9781408701928 (hbk)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London : Little, Brown, 2012.
isbn
1408701928 (hbk)
9781408701928 (hbk)
abstract
Britain's defeat of Napoleon is one the great accomplishments in our history. And yet it was by no means certain that Britain itself would survive the revolutionary fervour of the age, let alone emerge victorious from such a vast conflict. From the late 1790s, the country was stricken by naval mutinies, rebellion in Ireland, and riots born of hunger, poverty and grinding injustice. As the new century opened, with republican graffiti on the walls of the cities, and revolutionary secret societies reportedly widespread, King George III only narrowly escaped assassination. Jacobin forces seemed to threaten a dissolution of the social order.
catalogue key
8663681
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Britain's defeat of Napoleon is one the great accomplishments in our history. And yet it was by no means certain that Britain itself would survive the revolutionary fervour of the age, let alone emerge victorious from such a vast conflict. From the late 1790s, the country was stricken by naval mutinies, rebellion in Ireland, and riots born of hunger, poverty and grinding injustice. As the new century opened, with republican graffiti on the walls of the cities, and revolutionary secret societies reportedly widespread, King George III only narrowly escaped assassination. Jacobin forces seemed to threaten a dissolution of the social order. Above all, the threat of French invasion was ever-present. Yet, despite all this, and new threats from royal madness and rampant corruption, Britain did not become a revolutionary republic. Her elites proved remarkably resilient, and drew on the power of an already-global empire to find the strength to defeat Napoleon abroad, and continued popular unrest at home. In this brilliant, sweeping history of the period, David Andress fuses two hitherto separate historical perspectives - the military and the social - to provide a vivid portrait of the age. In the process, he shows the importance of individual characters such as Pitt, Nelson and Wellington in building the strength to overcome dissent at home and the French overseas, and also reflects on the way of life they championed. Britain fought against a naked tyranny in the Napoleonic Empire, and drew extensively on a language of freedom and justice to do so. Triumph brought a golden age of imperial power, but also cemented the rule of the elite, in a country where freedom and justice remained out of reach for many. From the conditions of warfare faced by the British soldier and the great battles in which they fought, to the literary and artistic culture of the time, inhabited by the likes of Jane Austen, Mary Shelley and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Savage Storm is at once a searing narrative of dramatic events - not least at Waterloo and Trafalgar -- and an important reassessment of one of the most significant turning points in our history.
Flap Copy
'If it had not been for you English, I should have been Emperor of the East; but wherever there is water to float a ship, we are sure to find you in our way.'Emperor Napoleon But thirty-five years earlier things were not so certain, and Britain was in constant battle with its traditional Gallic enemy and the military genius of Napoleon Bonaparte. And while the British army were battling for the liberty of Europe, at home the country was racked by crisis and corruption with the British people beginning to fight for their own freedoms. This was a tinderbox time of near famine conditions, movements for radical change that saw open-air meetings in the hundreds of thousands, and the sort of violent and co-ordinated revolt not seen since the Civil War. David Andress brings vividly to life both the high drama of the military battles and the low politics of dealing with domestic rebellion. Wellington may have described defeating Napoleon as 'the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life', but there was no doubting the spoils of victory: success left the British Empire in a position of economic dominance. It was a victory, too, that cemented the aristocracy as Britain's ruling elite. Three quarters of Britain's 500 leading families had at least one member who served in these wars: the result was a 'Napoleonic generation'whose influence stretched as far as Churchill, Eden and Macmillan. Colourfully written and brilliantly researched, The Savage Storm colourfully shows how ruthless imperialist expansion, spiteful political combat and working under a mad king laid the foundations for the greatest empire the world has ever known.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2013-08-19:
Chronicling Britain's quarter-century as France's principal foe in the Napoleonic Wars, British historian Andress (1789) offers a dual military and sociopolitical history of the turbulent era following the disastrous loss of its American colonies. A deeply divided Britain confronted mass revolt in Ireland, King George III's madness, severe food shortages, the assassination of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval, and the most widespread period of violent and coordinated revolt in England since the Civil Wars of the 1640s. Less than a year before Nelson's stunning victory against the French in 1798's Battle of the Nile, the Royal Navy was almost paralyzed by mass mutiny from sailors whose grievances ranged from miserable wages to inadequate pensions for crippled veterans, while 36 were hanged for their roles in the Nore mutiny, with over 350 sentenced to floggings and deportation. Wellington's defeat of the French in 1812's Battle of Salamanca followed violence on the home front as thousands of British troops marched into Manchester, the Midlands, and West Riding to quell over a dozen riots by aggrieved workers threatened with displacement by industrialization. Although his arguments are occasionally circuitous and his sweeping narrative covers too vast a canvas, Andress proves a perceptive and adroit storyteller. Illus. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Reviews
Review Quotes
Andress's vivid account of Britain's history during the war years . . . He writes movingly about the reality of war, the experience of the common soldier and especially of the sailor . . . He shows commendable skill in interweaving the two narratives, the military and the political, to offer a convincing overview of the age
"A thorough, bracing primer for students of global history." Kirkus Reviews on 1789
David Andress writes well, charts the British experience of the struggle against Napoleon in a manner that is as thorough as it is enthusiastic, approaches his subject from a refreshing perspective and fills a serious gap in the historiography . . . The Savage Storm is a book that . . . should be read by all those interested in Britain's role in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars
"David Andress writes well . . . in a manner that is as thorough as it is enthusiastic, approaches his subject from a refreshing perspective and fills a serious gap in the historiography . . . should be read by all those interested in Britain's role in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars." Literary Review
This item was reviewed in:
Guardian UK, December 2012
Publishers Weekly, August 2013
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
Praise for 1789 : 'Andress writes with verve, never allowing the pace to slacken, moving swiftly from one character or episode to another. The result is exciting, exhilarating even. Not one chapter fails to delivery sharp insights, illuminating details and entertaining anecdotes'Tim Blanning, Sunday Telegraph 'A truly global story . . . This is a compelling, humane account'Independent Praise for The Terror : 'Commendably fair and even-handed . . . A lucid study'Munro Price , Sunday Telegraph 'The most authoritative treatment we are likely to have for many years'William Doyle , Independent 'A meticulous account . . . stands beside Simon Schama's Citizens 'Literary Review
Bowker Data Service Summary
From the late 1790s, Britain was stricken by naval mutinies, rebellion in Ireland and riots born of hunger, poverty and grinding injustice. Above all, the menace of a French invasion was ever-present. Yet, Britain did not become a revolutionary republic. The elites found the strength to defeat Napoleon abroad and to counter popular unrest at home.
Bowker Data Service Summary
There was a time when Britain lacked any major continental allies, and was wracked by crises and corruption. Many thought that she would follow France into revolution. The British elite had no such troubling illusions: defeat was not a possibility.
Main Description
An extraordinarily gripping narrative of how Britain, seemingly on the ropes after losing control of America and growing internal dissent, built the military and naval might to defeat Napoleonand in doing so transformed its destiny In this brilliant, sweeping history of the period, David Andress fuses two hitherto separate historical perspectivesthe military and the social. Britain's defeat of Napoleon is one the great accomplishments in the nation's history, yet it was by no means certain that Britain itself would survive the revolutionary fervor of the age, let alone emerge victorious from such a vast conflict. From the late 1790s, the country was stricken by naval mutinies, rebellion in Ireland, and riots born of hunger, poverty, and grinding injustice. As the new century opened, with republican graffiti on the walls of the cities, and revolutionary secret societies reportedly widespread, King George III only narrowly escaped assassination. Jacobin forces seemed to threaten a dissolution of the social order. Above all, the threat of French invasion was ever-present. Yet, despite all this, and new threats from royal madness and rampant corruption, Britain did not become a revolutionary republic. The elites proved remarkably resilient, and drew on the power of an already-global empire to find the strength to defeat Napoleon abroad, and continued popular unrest at home. From the conditions of warfare faced by the British soldier and the great battles in which they fought, to the literary and artistic culture of the time, this is at once a searing narrative of dramatic events and an important reassessment of one of the most significant turning points in British history.
Main Description
An extraordinarily gripping narrative of how Britain, seemingly on the ropes after losing control of America and with growing internal dissent, built the military and naval might to defeat Napoleon--and in doing so transformed its destiny In this brilliant, sweeping history of the period, David Andress fuses two hitherto separate historical perspectives--the military and the social. Britains defeat of Napoleon is one of the great accomplishments in the nations history, yet it was by no means certain that Britain itself would survive the revolutionary fervor of the age, let alone emerge victorious from such a vast conflict. From the late 1790s, the country was stricken by naval mutinies, rebellion in Ireland, and riots born of hunger, poverty, and grinding injustice. As the new century opened, with republican graffiti on the walls of the cities, and revolutionary secret societies reportedly widespread, King George III only narrowly escaped assassination. Jacobin forces seemed to threaten a dissolution of the social order. Above all, the threat of French invasion was ever-present. Yet, despite all this, and new threats from royal madness and rampant corruption, Britain did not become a revolutionary republic. The elites proved remarkably resilient, and drew on the power of an already-global empire to find the strength to defeat Napoleon abroad and continued popular unrest at home. From the conditions of warfare faced by the British soldier and the great battles in which they fought, to the literary and artistic culture of the time, this is a searing narrative of dramatic events and an important reassessment of one of the most significant turning points in British history.
Main Description
An extraordinarily gripping narrative of how Britain, seemingly on the ropes after losing control of America and with growing internal dissent, built the military and naval might to defeat Napoleonand in doing so transformed its destiny In this brilliant, sweeping history of the period, David Andress fuses two hitherto separate historical perspectivesthe military and the social. Britain's defeat of Napoleon is one of the great accomplishments in the nation's history, yet it was by no means certain that Britain itself would survive the revolutionary fervor of the age, let alone emerge victorious from such a vast conflict. From the late 1790s, the country was stricken by naval mutinies, rebellion in Ireland, and riots born of hunger, poverty, and grinding injustice. As the new century opened, with republican graffiti on the walls of the cities, and revolutionary secret societies reportedly widespread, King George III only narrowly escaped assassination. Jacobin forces seemed to threaten a dissolution of the social order. Above all, the threat of French invasion was ever-present. Yet, despite all this, and new threats from royal madness and rampant corruption, Britain did not become a revolutionary republic. The elites proved remarkably resilient, and drew on the power of an already-global empire to find the strength to defeat Napoleon abroad and continued popular unrest at home. From the conditions of warfare faced by the British soldier and the great battles in which they fought, to the literary and artistic culture of the time, this is a searing narrative of dramatic events and an important reassessment of one of the most significant turning points in British history.
Main Description
If it had not been for you English, I should have been Emperor of the East; but wherever there is water to float a ship, we are sure to find you in our way.'Emperor Napoleon But just thirty-five years earlier, Britain lacked any major continental allies, and was wracked by crises and corruption. Many thought that she would follow France into revolution. The British elite had no such troubling illusions: defeat was not a possibility. Since not all shared that certainty, the resumption of the conflict and its pursuit through years of Napoleonic dominance, is a remarkable story of aristocratic confidence and assertion of national superiority. Winning these wars meant ruthless imperialist expansion, spiteful political combat, working under a mad king and forging the most united national effort since the days of the Armada. And it meant setting the foundations for the greatest empire the world has ever known.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgementsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Mapsp. xvi
Prologue: Battle in Egyptp. 1
Revolutionary Terrorsp. 15
Sedition and Stalematep. 39
Uneasy Yearning for Peacep. 60
Peace Through War, and War for Peacep. 82
Alone against the Emperorp. 104
Shifting Sandsp. 129
Isolation and Determinationp. 150
The State of the Nationp. 169
New Hopes and New Disastersp. 186
The Sepoy General and the Spanish Ulcerp. 209
The Sorrows of Warp. 234
The Uncertain Tide of Victoryp. 257
Madrid to Moscowp. 282
In the Balancep. 301
Endgamesp. 322
Reckoning and Returnp. 348
Epiloguep. 369
Notesp. 389
Indexp. 413
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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