NAPIER, William Francis Patrick.
History of the War in the Peninsula
and in the South of France, from the year 1807 to the Year 1814. New Edition, Revised by the Author.
First published between 1828-40, this is an attractively bound Cabinet Edition. A work that certainly divided opinion, “Soult considered it ‘perfect’, Sir Robert Peel ‘eloquent and faithful’, the Spanish general Alava felt it too pro-French, and a British officer in India demanded satisfaction on his return for a ‘most unfounded calumny’ about his conduct at Barossa” (ODNB) As a result all volumes have plump appendices of “justificatory pieces” in answer to Napier’s critics, his controversy with Beresford over Albuera was particularly rancourous. Perhaps judgement is best left to the acknowledged master chronicler of the conflict, Sir Charles Oman, who described Napier’s work as “magnificent (if somewhat prejudiced and biased)”. Contemporary gift inscription to the first blank of volume I, small ink-stamps of the military historian Col. Frederick Myatt, author of British Sieges of the Peninsular War. A very nice set.
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6 volumes, octavo (290 118 mm). Contemporary red hard-grained morocco by Gray of Cambridge, title gilt direct to the spine, narrow, flat bands reeded in gilt, compartments elaborately gilt, double gilt panel with floral corner pieces to the boards, enclosing a wavy panel in blind, foliate edge-roll, all edges gilt, inner dentelles in blind, marbled endpapers. 55 engraved battle plans. A little rubbed on the joints, bands, and head and tail of the spines, corners bumped, light toning, but remains attractive.