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Napoleon's Cursed War: Popular Resistance in the Spanish Peninsular War, 1808-1814 Hardcover – March 17, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Fraser has re-created a world, barely glimpsed by previous historians, of the Spanish popular resistance and suffering during the anti-Napoleonic war ... An excellent work.”—Carlos Martinez Shaw, El Pais

Napoleon’s Cursed War marks a fundamental milestone in the war’s historiography, both past and future. It is a superb complement to Fraser’s classic Blood of Spain, of ‘history from below.’”—Ricardo Garcia Carcel, ABC

“Fraser has breathed life into a historic era... The real protagonist of his work is the people and their tragedy.”—Luis Ribot, El Mundo

“Like Goya in The Disasters of War, Fraser has engraved in the written word the spirit and sacrifices of the popular anti-Napoleonic resistance, a precursor of the anti-fascist resistance of the [Spanish] Civil War.”—Andreu Mayayo, El Periodico de Catalunya

From the Back Cover

Praise for Blood of Spain:

"Mr Fraser is an excellent traditional historian ... not so much concerned with the grandees and memoir writers on either side as with 'ordinary people,' whose voices in history are usually silent." -Raymond Carr, New York Review of Books

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 587 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition edition (March 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844670821
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844670826
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This masterful history of Spanish Resistance during the Peninsula War has many echoes today in Iraq and Afghanistan. Napoleon was regarded as the carrier of Enlightenment values and the French Revolution. In Spain the majority saw him as a proto-colonial conqueror. I first read the book in Spanish, but to have it now in its original language is a real treat. In Spain, the book has received a warm welcome as thew following reviews indicate:

The (Spanish) myths and euphoric visions of the war give way (in this book) to an infinitely more complex reality which only the historian's patient assembly of witnesses' evidence can provide. Ronald Fraser's tenacity and acumen reconstruct a world which other specialists have barely glimpsed, concentrating instead exclusively on the statements of the great and rejecting the real experiences of Spaniards beset by the miseries of the war. In short, this is an excellent book with which to begin the new academic historiographical year. --Professor Carlos Martínez Shaw, El País [Babelia], 21/10/06

For the first time Ronald Fraser describes for us the ordinary people of 1808, to whom we (Spanish historians) have so often referred, and whose moods and emotions we now experience directly... These are the protagonists of this book: the people who suffered the war's hardships and who, whether they won it or lost, were considered mere cannon fodder. The work marks a fundamental milestone in the conflict's historiography.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a superb work on the guerrilla war waged by the people of Spain against Napoleon's invading army during the Peninsula War. One cannot understand what is guerrilla warfare until they read this work and understand where the modern term "guerrilla warfare" originated from. The author conducted extensive research in finding out the detailed methods of warfare the Spanish insurgents used such as urban operations, ambushes, and attrition. The author produces many valuable estimates of French and Spanish casualties that one would have difficulty in contradicting. I found this book to be exceedingly thorough, detail oriented, and a wealth of information on the subject of guerrilla warfare and the Peninsula War. 5 stars all the way.
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Format: Hardcover
I will summarize the importance of this magnificent book by quoting Napoleon, from his 'Diary' in Saint Helena:

"It was that unhappy war in Spain that ruined me. The results have irrevocably proved that I was in the wrong. [...] The unfortunate war in Spain proved a real wound,--the first cause of the misfortune of France. If I could have foreseen that that affair would cause me so much vexation and chagrin, I would never have engaged in it. [...] Had I known at the first that the transaction would have given me so much trouble, I never would have engaged in it."

Napoleon was mortified by this episode. He was convinced that Spain was solely responsible for France's defeat.
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