There have been innumerable books about the battles, armies and navies of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. This book looks beyond the familiar exploits and bravery of the army and navy to the politicians and civil servants, and examines how they made it possible to continue the war at all. It shows the degree to which, because of the magnitude and intensity of hostilities, the capacities of the whole British population were involved: industrialists, farmers, shipbuilders, cannon founders, gunsmiths and gunpowder manufacturers all had continually to increase quality and output as the demands of the war remorselessly grew. The intelligence war was also central: Knight shows that despite a poor beginning to both gathering and assessment, Whitehall's methods steadily improved.No participants were more important, he argues, than the bankers and international traders of the City of London, who played a critical role in financing the wars and without whom the armies of Britain's allies could not have taken the field. Knight demonstrates that despite these extraordinary efforts, between 1807 and 1812 Britain came very close to losing the war against Napoleon - not through invasion but through financial and political exhaustion. The Duke of Wellington famously said that the battle which finally defeated Napoleon was the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life and this book shows how true that was for the Napoleonic War as a whole.