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

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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: 1.6 x 6.6 x 9.4 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: #1,440,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“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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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Terry Kelly on March 23, 2008
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. Weber on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ronald Fraser's account of Napoleon's six year war against Spain and the resistance of the Spanish people is a path breaking history, a joy to read, and should be snapped up by readers interested in studies of the unnamed, `anonymous' men and women who suffer war, resist seemingly impossible odds, and shape history. Thorough his meticulously researched exploration of what became Napoleons Vietnam, Fraser vividly brings to life the suffering, struggles and resistance of the Spanish people. In doing so, he reconfigures historical understanding of that conflict.

Fraser has long been regarded is a national treasure in Spain, recently honored at a national conference for his classic book on the Spanish civil war, The Blood of Spain,. Fraser conducted over 300 interviews with protagonists from all sides of the civil war to produce that book which stunningly captured the feel of the war and, as Studs Terkel pointed out, "is as close to the truth as we'll ever get." My own historical interest is in the Americas, yet Fraser has long inspired me in his work with oral history. He continues to do so with this compelling history of resistance in the Peninsular War. Napoleon's Curse has been rightfully acclaimed in Spain as a "superb complement' to his earlier work. This is a lyrically written book by a master historian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Martul on August 3, 2010
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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