Waterloo

  • by Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by Bernard Cornwell, Dugald Bruce Lockhart
  • 8 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author comes the definitive history of one of the greatest battles ever fought - a riveting nonfiction chronicle published to commemorate the two-hundredth anniversary of Napoleon's last stand.
On June 18, 1815, the armies of France, Britain, and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days, the French army had beaten the Prussians at Ligny and fought the British to a standstill at Quatre-Bras. The Allies were in retreat. The little village north of where they turned to fight the French army was called Waterloo. The blood-soaked battle to which the town gave its name would become a landmark in European history.
In his first work of nonfiction, Bernard Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting chronicle of every dramatic moment from Napoleon's daring escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the three battlefields and their aftermath. Through quotes from the letters and diaries of Emperor Napoleon, the Duke of Wellington, and the ordinary officers and soldiers, Cornwell brings to life how it actually felt to fight those famous battles as well as the moments of amazing bravery on both sides that left the outcome hanging in the balance until the bitter end.
Published to coincide with the battle's bicentennial in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy - and of the final battle that determined the fate of nineteenth-century Europe.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Not a close run thing!

Bernard Cornwell asks in the first few lines, "Why another book about Waterloo?" It's a good question and it has a very easy answer: If Cornwell wrote it, that's reason enough for me. In his hands, the story comes alive again in a way historians only rarely achieve.

Clearly, Cornwell has been researching the Napoleonic era all of his life. From the lowest private to the commanding generals, the story is told from the viewpoint and in the words of the participants. The battle descriptions are classic Cornwell, but it is the descriptions of the strategies of the battle captains, Wellington and Napoleon, that was most interesting to me.

I have only one criticism: Cornwell should have narrated the entire book himself. Not that the narrator did not do a great job, he did. But Cornwell's own voice is clearly that of a passionate author and actor. Usually I prefer that authors not read their own work, but in this case I have to say we would have been better served if he had.
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- carl801 "Old Soldier"

Both vivid and scholarly

There is nothing dull about this book; I could not put it down. Cornwell used his novelist skills to tell the story of Waterloo through the words and experience of the soldiers’ letters, diaries and memoirs. He brought the battle to life from both the French, British, Dutch, Flemish and German soldiers’ viewpoints.

For the 200th anniversary of the battle of Waterloo, Bernard Cornwell published a non-fiction book on the subject. A number of years ago he had written a historical fiction book about Waterloo in his Richard Sharpe series. This battle was so complex and the result of the battles so far reaching that one could spend their life studying it.

France was the dominating global power prior to this battle. Britain emerged the dominant global power of the 19th century as a result of winning this battle. Cornwell dramatically shows the consequence of the battle, the scale of slaughter and suffering that took place in the fields ten miles south of Brussels remains shocking. The entire battle took place in a five mile area.

Cornwell show how the British forces consisting of English, Dutch and Belgium soldiers and the Prussian army fought against the French army. Cornwell is the master of battle scenes in his historical fiction books. Because of that he brings the battle to life for the average reader.

Cornwell did an enormous amount of research preparing to write this book. He used diaries, letters, memoirs, military records and reports as well as newspaper reports. The author helps clarify the complex battle for the non-scholar. It would be great to read this book just before visiting the Waterloo site. I am going to buy the hardcover edition for the maps and pictures. Dugald Bruce Lockhart narrated the book.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-05-2015
  • Publisher: HarperAudio