Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, And The Battle That Saved Europe
This book is less about the personalities and more about the military tactics of the Battle of Waterloo. Corrigan tries to give thumbnails views of the officers and men on both sides of the battle. He places the battle in context of the previous battles, and deals with opinions surrounding the battle, along with opinions of his own. I found the book to be rather dry. I’ve read a number of books on the Civil War- they’re more interesting than this battle. As a novice to this war, I need a better feel for the personalities. I also need a lot more maps, with more detail. The book has a number of map, but I found myself going to Google to find better ones. The book also has period paintings and photos of the modern day landscape. I appreciate them, but I appreciate the invention of photography even more.. as it relates to the U.S. Civil War. It’s a timely book as June was the 200th Anniversary of the battle. I was left wanting to learn more about this war, so it wasn’t a bad book.
Excerpt from the book
On the profit-and-loss sheet of 16 June 1815, the French had prevented the Anglo-Dutch army from combining with the Prussians, but shoddy staff-work, confused orders and dilatoriness had robbed them of the overwhelming victory that should have been theirs. Wellington had been slow to recognize where the main French thrust was coming from, and only the recognition of the importance of the crossroads at Quatre Bras by the Prince of Orange and Generals Rebecque and Perponcher prevented a potential disaster on 15 June. Even then, had Ney attacked early on the morning of 16 June, much could have been achieved. Napoleon had failed to bring Lobau’s VI Corps into action at all, which could have made a difference to either battle. As it was, each wing thought that the other was coming to support it, and the failure to make it clear to Ney that he was to despatch d’Erlon proved crucial. It prevented the latter from placing his corps in rear of the Prussians and forcing them to retreat towards home, rather than allowing them to act as they actually did. This was a major factor contributing to the French defeat at Waterloo that would come two days later. As the rain bucketed down, all three armies licked their wounds and pondered their next moves. – pages 185,186