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Oct 9, 2004 2:59 pm


Battle of Trafalgar Was a Moral Victory for Spain, Author Claims



Isambard Wilkinson, in the Daily Telegraph(London) (oct. 7, 2004):


THE Battle of Trafalgar was a moral victory for Spain that should be a source of national pride, a book by one of its leading authors claims.

Cabo Trafalgar by Arturo Perez-Reverte, published to tie in with the bicentenary of the battle next year, sets out to restore Spain's place at the centre of the battle which is still seen as a shameful period in its history.

The account reserves some excoriating criticism for Spain's French allies and some modern vernacular Castilian for the English.

Mr Perez-Reverte's thesis is that the political circumstances leading to the battle had already doomed the Spanish sailors.

They were badly trained and often unpaid and reluctant allies of the French who were incompetently led by Adml Villeneuve. Despite the defeat, the Spaniards won a "victory of character", the book says.

"The defeat was not the battle itself but the political factors that led to it. Spain has had fanatic priests, corrupt ministers and imbecile kings but at least the people fought."

Mr Perez-Reverte said:"It was the case then as it is now. For example, look at the dignity of the people in the wake of the attacks on Madrid on March 11."

The book, billed as the most important Spanish work on the subject since the eminent novelist Benito Perez-Galdos (1843-1920) wrote his own Trafalgar, is a blend of archive research and popular narrative techniques.


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