Publisher: Cambridge University Press; New edition (October 31, 2022)
Hardcover: 320 pages
During the Peninsular War, Wellington's army stormed and sacked three French-held Spanish towns: Ciudad Rodrigo (1812), Badajoz (1812) and San Sebastian (1813). Storm and Sack is the first major study of British soldiers' violence and restraint towards enemy combatants and civilians in the siege warfare of the Napoleonic era. Using soldiers' letters, diaries and memoirs, Gavin Daly compares and contrasts military practices and attitudes across British sieges spanning three continents, from the Peninsular War in Spain, to India and South America. He focuses on siege rituals and laws of war, and uncovering the cultural and emotional history of the storm and sack of towns. This book challenges conventional understandings of the place and nature of sieges in the Napoleonic Wars. It encourages a rethinking of the notorious reputations of the British sacks of this period, and their place within the long-term history of customary laws of war and siege violence. Daly reveals a multi-faceted story of not only rage, enmity, plunder and atrocity, but also of mercy, honour, humanity and moral outrage.
'A very readable account that succeeds in shedding fresh light on a series of episodes that have already been much discussed: highly recommended – it might even be said that it takes its subject by storm!' Charles Esdaile, University of Liverpool'A revival of siege warfare during the Napoleonic campaigns led to increased levels of violence with the burning of cities and murder of civilians. Drawing on diaries and memoirs, Gavin Daly reassesses Britain's role in these sieges and discusses the trauma and the conflicting emotions that afflicted the soldiers involved.' Alan Forrest, University of York'Dr Daly, with clarity and panache, shows us the high drama of pre-modern siege warfare, with its alluring prospect of personal gain from plunder. In addition, he sheds light on cultural, ritualistic, ethical and legal aspects of siege warfare. No reader can fail to learn a vast amount from this masterful work.' Stephen Neff, University of Edinburgh