Published between 1828 and 1840, Napier's History of the War in the Peninsula was a tremendously influential, if controversial, work. Napier had been actively involved in the campaigns, turning to history in peacetime, in part to refute Southey's account of Sir John Moore. He had access to the papers of many of the participants, including French state and military letters. Although denied the use of Wellington's papers, he spent several months at Stratfield Saye, interviewing the Duke, and he also met French generals in Paris. The first volume had a mixed reception, getting both high praise and bitter criticism from participants in the wars. He published several works rebutting his critics while producing the later volumes. Because of his obvious lack of impartiality, modern military historians treat the work with caution, but it remains widely read in the many editions and abridgements which were subsequently produced.
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