Event Detail


Napoleon and Wellington

Andrew Roberts
Monday, 22 Nov 2004
HK Fooll Club
Mon, 22 Nov

6.30pm for 7.30pm start
Dinner lecture: "Napoleon and Wellington"
by Andrew Roberts
at Hong Kong Fooll Club, Causeway Bay


6.30pm Drinks Reception
7.30 pm 10.30 pm Lecture and Banquet Dinner
At breakfast on the morning of the Battle of Waterloo, the Emperor Napoleon declared that the Duke of Wellington was a bad general, the British were bad soldiers and that France could not fail to win an easy victory by lunchtime. Forever afterwards historians have accused him of gross overconfidence, and massively underestimating the calibre of the British commander opposed to him. In a dinner lecture on perhaps his most popular work,distinguished historian Andrew Roberts presents an original, highly revisionist view of the relationship between the two greatest captains of their age. Napoleon, who was born in the same year as Wellington in 1769, fought Wellington by proxy in the Peninsula War, praising his ruthlessness in private while publicly deriding him as a mere 'sepoy general'. In contrast, Wellington publicly lauded Napoleon, saying that his presence on a battlefield was worth forty thousand men, but privately wrote long memoranda lambasting Napoleon's campaigning techniques. Although Wellington saved Napoleon from execution after Waterloo, Napoleon left money in his will to the man who had tried to assassinate Wellington. Wellington in turn amassed a series of Napoleonic trophies of his great victory, even sleeping with two of the Emperor's mistresses. The fascinating, constantly changing relationship forms the basis of a compelling study in pride, rivalry, propaganda, nostalgia, and posthumous revenge. Mr. Roberts questions how a man of Napoleon's obvious and multifarious abilities would not have known that Wellington was far more formidable than he admitted, for he had defeated six of the Emperor's own marshals during the Peninsular War. In this fascinating lecture, he explores many of the questions which stemmed from Waterloo, the battle which changed the history of the world for ever. Andrew Roberts is one of the world's most distinguished historians. His biography of the Earl of Halifax, published in 1991, established his reputation, followed by Eminent Churchillians in 1994. In 1999, he published Salisbury: Victorian Titan, in 2001 Napoleon and Wellington,in 2003 Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership and, in 2004, What Might Have Been, a collection of twelve 'What If?' essays written by distinguished historians. Mr. Roberts is currently writing a book entitled A History of the EnglishSpeaking Peoples Since 1900, bringing the story from the point that Sir Winston Churchill ended his Nobelprize winning fourvolume work to the present day, to be published in 2006. Mr. Roberts has received some 20 literary awards for his works, appears regularly on television and radio and writes for numerous newspapers and magazines. There is a charge for this event of HK$400 for Members and HK$450 for Guests, which includes a cocktail reception followed by a fourcourse banquet dinner with wine and soft drinks. There is prebooked = individual seating, or you may arrange a group at a table, or a book a table of 10,11 or 12 people. Tickets must be reserved by cheque or electronic transfer in advance. Please write (v) next to the names of the people who require a vegetarian meal and state if there is someone you wish to sit with There is prebooked individual seating at a table, or you may arrange a group at a table, or book a complete table of 10, 11 or 12 people. No tickets will be issued. You will receive confirmation of your booking. If you have any questions please phone 2583 9700 or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Please make your cheque payable to "Royal Geographical Society HK" and send to RGSHK, GPO Box 6681, Hong Kong. Thank you for attending this event.

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