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Marlborough: England's Fragile Genius
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Marlborough: England's Fragile Genius

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  83 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Best-selling military historian Richard Holmes delivers an expertly written and exhilarating account of the life of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, Britain's finest soldier, who rose from genteel poverty to lead his country to glory, cementing its position as a major player on the European stage and saviour of the Holy Roman Empire.

John Churchill is, by any reasonable
Hardcover, 564 pages
Published May 5th 2008 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2008)
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Emmanuel Gustin
Jan 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history_britain
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 contemporaries.
It is a very enjoyable book. The War of the Spanish Succession and its campaigns are now in a distant and murky
Steve Howarth
May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A solid easily readable account and as you would expect comprehensive on the military side.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 sensibilities) 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 ...more
A good and readable account of the life and military career of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough. Not surprisingly for a military historian, Holmes is better at describing military actions, military life, and the institutional, political, and administrative contexts for these than he is at presenting the personal aspects of his subject's life. You won't come away from this book with a terribly strong sense of who Marlborough was as a man (although Holmes doesn't ignore such issues, e ...more
Tim Stretton
Feb 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I felt I should have enjoyed this book much more than I did. Holmes recognises Marlborough's significance as a field commander and political figure, but delineates the former in such crushing detail that it's almost impossible for the lay reader to follow what's going on, while the latter and potentially more interesting strand is skimped. The book tells you as much as you could possibly want about the great battles of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplacquet, but is frustratingly shadowy ...more
Taylor Kniphfer
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Richard Holmes portrays Marlborough as the greatest soldier that Britain has ever produced. Reading this fantastic biography, it is hard to disagree.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: european-history
Wasn't drawn in too much by this biography. I really enjoyed Holmes's 'Age of Wonders', but I was fascinated by Starkey's parallel biography of John and Winston Churchill.
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Richard Holmes was Professor of Military and Security Studies at Cranfield University and the Royal Military College of Science. He was educated at Cambridge, Northern Illinois, and Reading Universities, and carried out his doctoral research on the French army of the Second
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