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Synopsis

Wellington's clash with Massena was one of the most remarkable contests between two commanders in the Peninsular War. These two formidable generals carried on a campaign of manoeuvre, battle and attrition across Spain and Portugal in 1810 and 1811 which had a decisive impact on the outcome of the war. Wellington's reputation was enhanced, Massena's was ruined. David Buttery's close analysis of this extraordinary encounter offers a penetrating insight into the personalities of these two outstanding soldiers. Using a variety of sources, in particular eyewitness accounts from both sides, he reassesses the famous confrontations at Ciudad Rodrigo, Almeida, Busaco, the lines of Torres Vedras and the final bitterly fought battle at Fuentes de O'oro. He sheds new light on this pivotal episode in the Napoleonic Wars and his account corrects the one-sided view of the campaign that has survived to the present day. In particular he reconsiders the true cost of the scorched earth policy that was employed against the French.

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