Waterloo: June 18, 1815: The Battle for Modern Europe
The story of Waterloo has been the subject of scholarly and popular history books since the smoke cleared from the battlefield on the evening of June 18, 1815. Waterloo is significant not just because it marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars and of Napoleon’s bid to control Europe, but also because it ushered in a period of European peace that would last, with some interruptions, until the late summer of 1914. British historians are also drawn to Waterloo since it was the only time the two great giants of the period, the Emperor and the Duke of Wellington, met on the field of battle.
The campaign and the battle that ended it include a number of controversies and debates that continue to rage over Napoleon’s handling of the battle, Ney’s conspicuously dreadful battle management, the actions of the Prince of Orange, the role of the Prussian Army in the campaign, and Wellington’s relations with his Prussian allies. Andrew Roberts, the author of Napoleon and Wellington, is well versed in the study of Napoleonic warfare and in the nature of generalship in 1815. His Waterloo is a brief, yet authoritative, examination of the maneuvers leading up to the battle and the description of the day itself. From the opening cannon shot to the desperate combat for Hougoumont to the brilliant defense of La Haye Sainte to the thrilling cavalry assaults, to the Prussian advance to the final moment when the Imperial Guard disintegrates, Roberts brings the battle to life.
Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Gamble