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Douglas Ronald studied at Edinburgh University where he gained a Master of Arts Honours Degree in History and French. During a 30-year career in merchant banking, Douglas lived overseas for many years - in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and the United States. In 1984, he returned to the U.K and founded his own boutique corporate finance consultancy based out of London and Oxford, specialising in cross-border mergers and acquisitions on behalf of major multinational corporations, and heritage tourism for the Government and the National Trust. Douglas is now a full-time writer.
Capturing the same kind of excitement and action that a novel by Patrick O’Brien might, this book tells the stories of the young men, and boys really, who fought in the Napoleonic wars. Unbelievable that boys as young as 8 would be sent to war but here, with many first hand letters and accounts to back this up, is the story of these brave young sailors.
John Andre was head of the British Army's Secret Service in North America as the Revolutionary War entered its most bitter and, ultimately, decisive phase. In 1780, he masterminded the defection of a high-ranking American officer - General Benedict Arnold. Arnold-his name for ever synonymous with treason in American folklore - had recently been appointed commander of West Point and agreed, through Andre, to turn over to the British this strategically vital fort on the upper reaches of the Hudson River. Control of the fort would interrupt lines of communication between New England and the southern colonies, seriously impeding military operations against the British. The plan was also to simultaneously kidnap General George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. By these two masterstrokes, the British believed they could end rebel resistance. The secret negotiations between Arnold and Andre were protracted and fraught with danger. Arnold's new wife, Peggy became the go-between in the negotiations. Arnold insisted that, to complete negotiations, he and Andre must meet face to face. At the dead of night on September 21st 1780 the two rendezvoused in no-man's-land. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of British forces in North America and Andre's immediate superior, agreed to this meeting but with three strict conditions: that Andre not go within the American lines; that he remain in uniform; and that he carry away from the meeting no incriminating papers. Thus, if caught, Andre could not be treated as a spy. Yet, when Andre was captured forty-eight hours later, he was within American lines, had changed into civilian clothes and was carrying maps of West Point hidden in his boots. The Americans had no option other than to treat him as a spy, especially when he himself admitted this. He was convicted by military tribunal and hanged - his death lamented both in America and England. While biographers agree on the facts of this tragic episode, they disagree on Andre's motives and why he chose to sacrifice himself. This new biography of Andre puts forward a new answer to this mystery - not only why he acted as he did, but how he wished others to see his actions.
Youth, Heroism and War Propaganda explores how the young maritime hero became a major new figure of war propaganda in the second half of the long 18th century. At that time, Britain was searching for a new national identity, and the young maritime hero and his exploits conjured images of vigour, energy, enthusiasm and courage. Adopted as centrepiece in a campaign of concerted war propaganda leading up to the Battle of Trafalgar, the young hero came to represent much that was quintessentially British at this major turning point in the nation's history. By drawing on a wide range of sources, this study shows how the young hero gave maritime youth a symbolic power which it had never before had in Britain. It offers a valuable contribution to the field of British military and naval history, as well as the study of British identity, youth, heroism and propaganda.