Saturday, 19 March 2011
A Work of Profound Importance
You may recall my recent acquisition of the Command and Colours Napoleonic game and my subsequent first game defeat at the hands of the redoubtable Mr Fox. the game has its theatre of operations set firmly in the Spanish Peninsula which is a theatre of the Napoleonic wars I have sadly neglected. This was an oversight I fully intended to put right and recently came across Jac Weller's Wellington in the Peninsula 1808 to 1814. I have read this book in the past and own his volume on the Waterloo campaign and so there was no hesitation when the chance came to get a copy. It is a first class read, full of maps and orders of battle - all the stuff any self respecting wargamer would lap up without pause to breathe! As a one volume history it is had to beat but a chance comment in a conversation with Mr. Fox has done exactly that - well if not exactly that then it has come very close. I am of course referring to the new book published by Osprey - The Peninsular War Atlas by Colonel Nick Lipscombe. This is a work of profound importance and, as Prof. Richard Holmes pointed out is unlikely to be bettered.
The book comes in at nearly 400 pages long and covers the war in Spain and France with maps upon maps upon even more maps - carefully drafted by the author having spent some 20 odd years walking the ground himself so the level of detail is incredible. Aside from the 161 full page maps there is a very good history of the war (which includes the Spanish activities - something Weller largely leaves out but to be fair he is primarily concerned with the Duke's direct activities) and plenty of orders of battle and a very useful chronology. The author also recounts the story behind the attempts to map the theatre in years gone by - just after the end of the wars in fact - which is very interesting and certainly not something I was aware of.
The book comes in a robust slip case and uses high quality paper throughout; in fact the entire product just oozes luxurious quality. Best of all, Amazon are selling this for £25 rather than the £45 that Osprey are!
This is a truly impressive work and its value for the gamer cannot be overstated - for Command and Colours Napoleonics it will make scenario design a real pleasure and I am sure will be used for many a campaign. Any wargamer worth his salt will enjoy looking at clear and accurate maps for whatever is their chosen period and so this book is a model of clarity in that respect.
I must apologise for the flash reflection from the books cover - there is not really a bright sun shining over the RHA drivers!
A truly awesome achievement - whether the Peninsular War is your 'thing' or not!