Pdf Read Marlborough England's Fragile Genius º Richard Holmes – easyaddress.us
Ilities in breastplate and periwig My teenage admiration was solely for his rocking personal style I knew next to nothing about him other than that he was Winston Churchill s great great something and that he d been rewarded with a huge house for kicking some dastardly Continental butt I ve been meaning to fill in this gap in my knowledge of British history for a long time To be honest I was a little unclear about the whole William and Maryueen Anne period period As far as I knew everyone relieved to have the Glorious Revolution behind them sat down with a clay pipe and a cup of coffee and got on with the the Enlightenment As it turns out the turn of the eighteenth century was a fairly pivotal time both geopolitically and in terms of the development of key British institutions like the standing army and the prime minister ship This biography is periodically charming but somewhat pedestrian The title is a little puzzling to me even after finishing the book I m guessing Churchill was fragile because he suffered from crippling migraines I liked Holmes Redcoat although it too displayed a want of reuisite editing Holmes marshals a lot of evidence to support each of his points He needs to be a little selective And the blow by blow battle accounts are definitely for the specialist Tighter summaries of the battles with analysis and less detail would have been appropriate for a book marketed as this one is for the general reader I enjoyed the gossipy bits the most The politics of the bedroom played as important a role in Marlborough s meteoric rise as strategic success on the battlefield As a oung swain Churchill was the lover of Barbara Villiers erstwhile mistress of Charles II and sexual force of nature and his entree into the retinue of James II was facilitated by that monarch s intimacy with Churchill s sister Arabella Marlborough s captain generalcy had everything to do with the probably platonic but exceptionally close relationship between his wife Sarah and ueen AnneHolmes is at his best presenting campaigns and conflicts from the common trooper s point o view My favorite human interest side story in Marlborough had to do with Mrs Christian Davies who searching for her husband Richard enlisted and served for ears in Marlborough s campaigns as a dragoon She
*was discovered only *discovered only suffering a gunshot wound Oh and there s the pleasure of a ubiuitous real life Captain Blackader popping up throughout the narrative. Ton Churchill and Earl SpencerYet John Churchill was also deeply controversial He Accepted A Pension From One Of accepted a pension from one of II’s mistresses for services vigorously rendered He owed his rise and his peerage to James II et determined to be on the winning side he deserted him in his hour of need in 1688 He maintained regular correspondence with the Jacobites while serving William and Mary and with the French while fighting Louis XIV He made money on a prodigious scale but was notoriously tight fisted long regretting an annuity given to a secretary whose uick wittedness saved him from capture But in the age when commissions were bought and sold and commanders often owed their position to the hue of their blood he never lost his soldiers’ confidence. Pecific battles After putting down the book this reader has a good sense as to how Marlborough achieved victory at Blenheim Ramillies Oudenarde and Malplauet but the victories ring hollow as the larger picture of the war and alliance as well as British politics is not conveyed as powerfully Holmes is best at the blow by blow account of the battles Modern readers will not be mystified by Marlborough s tactics However the larger strategic and political considerations of the War of the Spanish Succession take a back seat in War of the Spanish Succession take a back seat in narrative an unfortunate aspect of the book as the war comes to firmly establish Britain s role in European wars and ensuring a balance of power on the ContinentHolmes succeeds in showing Marlborough as a military genius other writers perhaps the Duke s famous forebear Winston Churchill are reuired to elevate the Duke beyond mere battlefield victories into a founding father of modern British power and military might This book ends with the comment of Marlborough s opponent Bolingbroke that the late duke had been such a great man that Bolingbroke preferred to forget his flaws That seems to sum up Holmes attitude as well While his biography of John Churchill does mention the criticisms of his enemies this is a deeply sympathetic work In this it may be a bit unfair to the duke s contemporariesIt is a very enjoyable book The War of the Spanish Succession and its campaigns are now in a distant and murky past unfamiliar to the modern reader and not easy to find order or sense in Holmes manages to create a narrative that provides a good framework for Marlborough s campaigns and battles His description of Marlborough s victories is as clear and concise as can be expected from an experienced military historianBut the personality of Marlborough remains enigmatic despite the many uotes from his
voluminous correspondence It is hard to say whether this is acorrespondence It is hard to say whether this is a of the biographer or unavoidable because the great commander always kept in mind that his letters might fall in the wrong hand Evidently Marlborough was not very inclined to explain or defend his own actions and it is to Holmes credit that he showns restraint in trying to fill the gaps A thorough assessment beautifully balanced between the military political When I was in high school I had a framed postcard from Blenheim on my bedroom wall It was a painting of the Duke of Marlborough looking bad ass to my admittedly somewhat peculiar sensib. Flers was rewarded by Louis XIV for only losing moderatelyA coalition manager long before the phrase was invented he commanded a huge polyglot army with centrifugal political tendencies and bending it to his will by sheer force of personalityHe was also a politician on the domestic stage intimate with two monarchs James II and ueen Anne and the prop of successive cabinets He had extraordinary strength and durability His family connections wove him into the fabric of Europe his sister Arabella was James II’s mistress and their son James Duke of Berwick was one of Louis XIV’s most successful commanders Although the Marlboroughs lost their only son Jack to smallpox both their daughters married Whig grandees and their descendants include Sir Wins.