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Real War Horses: The Experiences of the British Cavalry 1814-1914 by Anthony Dawson

Real War Horses: The Experiences of the British Cavalry 1814-1914 by Anthony Dawson

Model Number: 9781473847071

£25.00 GBP

Many histories have been written about the conflicts the British army was involved in between the Battle of Waterloo and the First World War.  There are detailed studies of campaigns and battles and general accounts of the experiences of the soldiers.  But this book by Anthony Dawson is the first to concentrate in depth, in graphic detail, on the experiences of the British cavalry during a century of warfare.  That is why it is of such value.

It is compelling reading because it describes, using the words of the cavalrymen of the time, the organization, routines, training and social life of the cavalry as well as the fear and exhilaration of cavalry actions. Perhaps the most memorable passages record the drama and excitement of cavalry charges and the brutal, confused, often lethal experience of close-quarter combat in a melee of men and horses.

The narrative depends on primary unpublished accounts, in particular those published as letters home in local and national newspapers.  These letters are a gold mine for the military and social historian.  Not only do they give a fascinating insight into the daily lives of cavalrymen, they also reveal their attitudes, assumptions and view of the world.

All the major conflicts and campaigns of the period are features – Waterloo, the Wars in India, the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, the Boer War and finally the last cavalry actions fought in the Great War.

Few books give such a direct inside view of what it was like to serve in the British cavalry during the nineteenth century, for Anthony Dawson has compiled a remarkable record of the lives led by cavalry troopers, in their barracks and on campaign. He has also preserves their first-hand accounts of the unforgettable experience of going into battle on horseback.