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What did you like best about Waterloo? What did you like least?
This book is a detailed and well researched history of the battle of Waterloo. It gives good pen pictures of the various combatants covering the average soldiers as well as the generals, the Duke and the Emperor. However I found it very difficult to follow the sweeps across the battlefield and the way the different parts of the battle linked together without some maps or diagrams.
The descriptions of the fighting and the reasoning behind the various actions was well thought out even if at times it seemed to be about what Napoleon should have done to win.
The narrative around individual parts of the battle was compelling and managed to make me feel involved in the action without resorting to colourful or histrionic language. This is a sure sign of something well written.
This seems particularly moving when describing the way the infantry formed squares against cavalry to find themselves easy targets for artillery. Some of the descriptions were quite harrowing for their matter of factness as much as anything.
Overall I enjoyed the book and feel I know a lot more about the events two hundred years ago. I just wish I could have placed the distances between Hougomont and main front line or the distance covered by Bülow.
What did you like best about this story?
The book draw the writing and memoirs of ordinary soldiers as well as the official histories. This adds a lot of social context to the story and puts the struggle into a world context.
Have you listened to any of Phillip Franks’s other performances? How does this one compare?
Not listened to any others as far as I know
Do you think Waterloo needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
Initially, I could not think of anything else to be said about the battle and I think other competing versions rather than a follow up would be interesting to hear.
However, the final part of the book talks about the society that the victors came back to and the way they were treated. In this there were echoes of the end of the first and second world wars and the disillusionment of the returning army. It would be interesting to find out if Tim Clayton could do as good a job expanding on that area.
Any additional comments?
I would have thought it was possible for Amazon to produce an extension for the Audible reader that allowed it to download and display some sort of diagrams. For this sort of book even a small movable map would be invaluable.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
This is the best researched, most engaging historical account of the Battle of Waterloo, I have found. Pacey, witty and full of interesting facts, often overlooked by other historians. It is very well read. It is a pity that Audible could not arrange for a map to be downloaded with this item, as one will be needed to appreciate the full enormity of what was involved in this truly great battle.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
loved it. Great first account of history's most formative battles. thoroughly interesting and thereby enjoyable.
Sometimes a little dry. The author however adds enough personal details of the combatants and civilians experiences before, during, and after the battle to keep it interesting. Not exactly Ken Burns Civil War but very close.