Waterloo: The Aftermath

Written by Paul O’Keeffe
Review by Melinda Hammond

Using contemporary eyewitness accounts, anecdotes and reports, O’Keeffe paints a vivid picture of the events that followed the battle, with harrowing descriptions of the carnage, the widely varying reception of the news in London and Paris, and the pursuit of the defeated French Army. Considering the sweeping scope of this book, it is surprisingly full of human detail. The author does not shy away from the gruesome nature of the battle, yet what could have been an almost unreadable catalogue of destruction is lightened by moments of humanity, such as Reverend Mr Rudge, who toured the area shortly after the battle and found a letter written but never posted to a soldier’s fiancée. It was penned on 17th June, not sealed, but it was addressed and the kindly Reverend forwarded the letter, enclosed in a note of his own explaining where he had found it. O’Keeffe’s book is a fascinating, sometimes amusing, often painful account of the aftermath of Waterloo. An immensely readable work that complements the mass of literature written about the battle itself.