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Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349142395

Price: £12.99

ON SALE: 7th March 2019

Genre: Humanities / History / Regional & National History / European History

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For over three and a half years, from 1779 to 1783, the tiny territory of Gibraltar was besieged and blockaded, on land and at sea, by the overwhelming forces of Spain and France. It became the longest siege in British history, and the obsession with saving Gibraltar was blamed for the loss of the American colonies in the War of Independence.

Located between the Mediterranean and Atlantic, on the very edge of Europe, Gibraltar was a place of varied nationalities, languages, religions and social classes. During the siege, thousands of soldiers, civilians and their families withstood terrifying bombardments, starvation and diseases. Very ordinary people lived through extraordinary events, from shipwrecks and naval battles to an attempted invasion of England and a daring sortie out of Gibraltar into Spain. Deadly innovations included red-hot shot, shrapnel shells and a barrage from immense floating batteries.

This is military and social history at its best, a story of soldiers, sailors and civilians, with royalty and rank-and-file, workmen and engineers, priests, prisoners-of-war, spies and surgeons, all caught up in a struggle for a fortress located on little more than two square miles of awe-inspiring rock. Gibraltar: The Greatest Siege in British History is an epic page-turner, rich in dramatic human detail – a tale of courage, endurance, intrigue, desperation, greed and humanity. The everyday experiences of all those involved are brought vividly to life with eyewitness accounts and expert research.

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A definitive new book . . . it recounts in detail the stirring story of the conflict and Lord Heathfield's key role in ensuring a momentous British victory
Sussex Express
Fascinating . . . an enthralling and colourful history told with human stories at its heart
Family Tree
The Adkins have written a very popular history of the siege . . . the book is informative, clear, lucid, undemanding, and attractively written. Readers lacking prior knowledge will learn much
John Childs, The Historian
Thoroughly researched and very readable, it draws on military and social history and explains the background to what was endured at every level of society
Devon Life
This intense account portrays the heroism and sufferings of the defenders while offering interesting vignettes that cover intriguing personalities on both sides. The Adkinses have created an absorbing examination of an important episode in British and European history
Jay Freeman, Booklist
A fascinating, well-crafted account of a siege that defined Britishness
Andrew Lambert, BBC History Magazine
Highly readable . . . With plenty of drama to draw upon and an impressive commitment to research, this is a book to delight the military history enthusiast
History of War
This detailed account of possibly one of the greatest events in British maritime history ... as important to Britain as was the Siege of Stalingrad to the USSR in World War Two ... The authors ... give a superb social history dimension to the official military archives ... This book is thoroughly recommended
Martin Hazell, South West Soundings
Fascinating and timely
Daily Mail
The Adkins . . . have captured the tortured and contested story of this solitary rock with aplomb . . . The Adkins's page-turning account makes you feel as if you were there amid the smoke, blood and gunpowder
Catholic Herald
The husband-and-wife historian team once again exhibit their talent for enlivening British history . . . Many readers will wonder why this episode hasn't been made into a movie, with all the heroics of soldiers, civilians, and, especially, families . . . The story is as compelling as it is fantastic - page-turning history of one of the most important eras of Western civilization
Kirkus Reviews
Gripping, dramatically paced and thoroughly researched history of the dogged defense of Gibraltar
Washington Times
Breaks new ground in almost every page ... the book is difficult to put down. It reads like a thriller ... This is a book which you will read and read again
Sam Benady, Gibraltar Heritage Journal
A page turner that vividly recounts the titanic, but little known, behind-the-scenes struggle between England, France and Spain that so dramatically influenced world events during the American Revolution
History 500
Another epic and illuminating look at Britain's past from Roy and Lesley Adkins, masters of the historical narrative. Ordinary mortals in extraordinary circumstances leap off the pages
The siege that changed the course of British History . . . Well-researched and briskly written . . . worthy of the most melodramatic Hollywood blockbuster
Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
The Adkins bring the siege vividly to life, especially the everyday experiences of all those involved in the struggle . . . An epic page-turner
Julian Stockwin
The authors adeptly place this siege narrative within the larger context of the war [American War of Independence] in its later years . . . Roy and Lesley Adkins have given us a gripping, well-written account . . . It is an excellent reminder to American readers, especially, that the spread of hostilities beyond the geographical limits of the thirteen rebellious colonies was a determining factor in their successful fight for independence
Jon Ault, H-Net Reviews
A page-turning tale of one of the era's longest and most significant sieges, described from the perspective of those who lived through it . . . a well organized, fast-paced book
Publishers Weekly
Never loses sight of the human story at the heart of an extraordinary international incident
History Revealed
Splendid . . . As a history of the great siege this work stands out as a major contribution in bringing the atmosphere and challenges of late eighteenth-century warfare to the modern reader, and is highly recommended
Professor Richard Harding, Mariner’s Mirror
Well written history, excitingly told. Why not get yourself a copy?
J J Alcantara, Gibraltar Chronicle