Architects of Empire
The Duke of Wellington and His Brothers
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
620 Pages | 6 x 9 | 19 b&w illus., 3 maps
A soldier and statesman for the ages, the Duke of Wellington is a towering figure in world history. John Severn now offers a fresh look at the man born Arthur Wellesley to show that his career was very much a family affair, a lifelong series of interactions with his brothers and their common Anglo-Irish heritage. The untold story of a great family drama, Architects of Empire paints a new picture of the era through the collective biography of Wellesley and his siblings.
Severn takes readers from the British Raj in India to the battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars to the halls of Parliament as he traces the rise of the five brothers from obscurity to prominence. Severn covers both the imperial Indian period before 1800 and the domestic political period after 1820, describing the wide range of experiences Arthur and his brothers lived through.
Architects of Empire brings together in a single volume a grand story that before now was discernible only through political or military analysis. Weaving the personal history of the brothers into a captivating narrative, it tells of sibling rivalry among men who were by turns generous and supportive, then insensitive and cruel.
Whereas other historians have minimized the importance of family ties, Severn provides an unusually nuanced understanding of the Duke of Wellington. Architects of Empire casts his career in a new light—one that will surprise those who believe they already know the man.