Napoleon's Cursed War

Napoleon's Cursed War:Spanish Popular Resistance in the Peninsular War, 1808–14

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A magisterial history of “Napoleon’s Vietnam”, by the highly acclaimed historian of Spain

In this definitive account of the Peninsular War (1808–14), Napoleon's six-year war against Spain, Ronald Fraser examines what led to the emperor’s devastating defeat against the popular opposition - the guerrillas - and their British and Portuguese allies. As well as relating the histories of the great political and military figures of the war, Fraser brings to life the anonymous masses - the artisans, peasants and women who fought, suffered and died - and restores their role in this barbaric war to its rightful place while overturning the view that this was a straightforward military campaign. This vivid, meticulously researched book offers a distinct and profound vision of "Napoleon's Vietnam" and shows the reality of the disasters of war: the suffering, discontents and social upheaval that accompanied the fighting.

With a new Introduction by Perry Anderson.


  • Fraser has re-created a world, barely glimpsed by previous historians, of the Spanish popular resistance and suffering during the anti-Napoleonic war ... An excellent work.

    Carlos Martinez ShawEl Pais
  • A milestone in the historiography of the war.

    Alistair HennessyNew Left Review
  • Fraser has breathed life into a historic era... The real protagonist of his work is the people and their tragedy.

    Luis RibotEl Mundo