Waterloo : Great Battles

3.54 (24 ratings by Goodreads)
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Waterloo was the last battle fought by Napoleon and the one which finally ended his imperial dreams. It involved the deployment of huge armies and incurred heavy losses on both sides; for those who fought in it, Dutch and Belgians, Prussians and Hanoverians as well as British and French troops, it was a murderous struggle.

It was a battle that would be remembered very differently across Europe. In Britain it would be seen as an iconic battle whose memory would be enmeshed in British national identity across the following century. In London news of the victory unleashed an outburst of patriotic celebration and captured the imagination of the public. The Duke of Wellington would go on to build his political career on it, and towns and cities across Britain and the Empire raised statues and memorials to the victor.

But it was only in Britain that Waterloo acquired this iconic status. In Prussia and Holland its memory was muted - in Prussia overshadowed by the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig, in Holland a simple appendage to the prestige of the House of Orange. And in France it would be portrayed as the very epitome of heroic defeat. Encapsulated in the bravery of General Cambronne and the last stand of the Old Guard, remembered movingly in the lines of Stendhal and Victor Hugo, the memory of Waterloo
served to sustain the romantic legend of the Napoleonic Wars - and contributed to the growing cult of Napoleon himself.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 148 x 224 x 18mm | 416g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 18 b&w halftones and 2 maps
  • 0199663254
  • 9780199663255
  • 741,569

Table of contents

1. Introduction ; 2. The Genesis of the Waterloo Campaign ; 3. The Battle ; 4. The Return of Peace: First Responses to Waterloo ; 5. Eye-witness Accounts ; 6. Wellington, Waterloo, and British Identity ; 7. Waterloo and the Napoleonic Legend ; 8. Waterloo in German, Dutch and Belgian Memory ; Further Reading ; Notes ; Index
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Review Text

An essential book for understanding the complex national attitudes to the commemoration of Waterloo. Chris May, Battlefield
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Review quote

An excellent book * Literary Review, Saul David * Original, interesting and elegant To fail to read Waterloo would be quite unthinkable. * British Journal of Military History, Charles Esdaile * Alan Forrest offers a good discussion of the events leading up to the battle, and its subsequent ripples. * Victor Davis Hanson, Times Literary Supplement * Lucid, measured and fascinating. * BBC History magazine, Tim Clayton * A fascinating read * The Good Book Guide * A strikingly original analysis of responses to Waterloo and the memory of it. * History Today, Gary Sheffield * A brilliant, even-handed short study * David Horspool, Books of the Year 2015, Guardian * An essential book for understanding the complex national attitudes to the commemoration of Waterloo. * Chris May, Battlefield *
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About Alan Forrest

Alan Forrest is Emeritus Professor of Modern History at the University of York. He has published widely on French Revolutionary and Napoleonic history in France and Europe, on the history of armies and war, and on the cultural history of modern France, most recently a biography of Napoleon (2011).
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Rating details

24 ratings
3.54 out of 5 stars
5 21% (5)
4 38% (9)
3 25% (6)
2 8% (2)
1 8% (2)
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