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REVIEW: Rifles: Six years with Wellington's Legendary Sharpshooters.


Virtually everybody has heard of the Battle of Waterloo and how Wellington overcame Napoleon in June of 1815, but this book covers a much more extensive time period, covering their exploits from 1809-15, and how the 95th Rifles participated in the events leading up to the famous battle.

The 95th Rifles were trained to be the advance guard for Wellington's army, and quickly gained a fierce reputation for there accuracy. They were the first British soldiers to be trained to take aim, take cover, and to move tactically. They were also equipped with a formidable weapon, the Baker rifle, which allowed them greater accuracy and was far easier to use on the field of battle than their predecessors.

The author, Mark Urban, has gone to great lengths to research each battle, drawing from archive records of both the British and the French. He has also incorporated many extracts from letters written by the officers and soldiers to transmit the moods and feelings of the people participating, focusing on six in particular.

The book could quite easily have fallen into the trap of purely listing tactics and strategies, but by highlighting individuals within the events it has created a much more accessible read. As you would expect with a book of this nature many of the images created are, at times, quite horrific, but it also incorporates the occasional humorous moment, a tactic probably adopted by the men themselves to help them through the hardships that they faced first hand.

Incorporated within the pages are quite a few pictures and drawings showing battle scenes, participants, weapons used and maps of the areas where the various events unfolded. It also has a fairly concise notes and bibliography section at the back.

CONCLUSION: A fascinating read, giving a very realistic insight into what it would have been like to have participated in these battles. Whilst the subject matter might not be to everyone's tastes, the way it has been written should increase its appeal.

Title: Rifles: Six Years with Wellington's Legendary SharpshootersAuthor: Mark UrbanPublisher: Faber & FaberISBN: 0-571-21680-3Price: GBP20.00Reviewer: Peter Haswell
COPYRIGHT 2004 Normans Media Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:M2 Best Books
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 18, 2004
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