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 Post subject: Waterloo books
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2023 6:52 pm 
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Hello all. It seems to me that there's been more books (in English at least) about Waterloo than any other Napoleonic battle. I'm interested in which people think are the best.

I've been slowly working my way through all the Napoleonic battles (an incredibly enjoyable labor). I'll usually start with Chandler and Petre to provide a broad overview, then go "deeper" with someone like James Arnold (on Eylau and Friedland) and John Gill (for the Danube campaign of 1809). I've found that I get completely lost in Arnold or Gill without first having a high(er) level account from Chandler or Petre. Right now I'm reading John Fortescue's book on the Waterloo campaign. It's excerpted from his multi-volume History of the British Army; I certainly see his likes (Wellington) and dislikes (German historians), which don't bother me, but that's why I'm eager to find additional perspectives.

In which regard, I can't recommend Alex Mikaberidze's three books on Russian eyewitness accounts of 1807, 1812 and 1814 highly enough. Or his books on Berezina and Borodino and his History of the Napoleonic Wars.

Regards to one and all,

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20th East Devonshire Regiment of Foot
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 Post subject: Re: Waterloo books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2023 12:06 am 
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The one I have read is "The Battle" by Alessandro Barbero - but my scholarship pales in comparison to yours, so I cannot compare. In it Alessandro gives detailed accounts about tactical details that remind me of Keegan's "Face of Battle".

I am still picking through the list you shared :)

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 Post subject: Re: Waterloo books
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:40 am 
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Wow - I knew that Barbero had written a book about Dante but I didn't know he did one on Waterloo. Just ordered! Thanks for the recommendation.

I remember reading Keegan's Face of Battle many years ago and really liking it, especially the section on Wellington (although not the section on U.S. Grant who I've always regarded as among the most overrated generals/human beings in American history).

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Ensign James Holloway
20th East Devonshire Regiment of Foot
XI British Brigade
VI Division
III Peninsular Corps


We have always been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be detested in France.
-- Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington


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 Post subject: Re: Waterloo books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:14 pm 
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Barbero's book is excellent. It is easy to read and offers a mix of soldier and high command view points. To me, it is the best I have read for understanding how the battle played out. Earlier this week I started reading The Waterloo Campaign: The German Victory by Peter Hofschoer. This is the second of his two longer books on the campaign and starts the morning after Ligny and Quatre Bras. The title gives away his opinion. I also understand he is somewhat controversial as a scholar and very problematic as a person. I find Ligny and Quatre Bras fascinating to play as the Coalition. I have won Ligny once and lost horribly 3 times.

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 Post subject: Re: Waterloo books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 4:55 pm 
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Thank you - the Hofshoer book sounds like a good one. Fortescue (English) dislikes the Germans, with particular venom for Gneisnau, but his most toxic barrages of loathing are reserved for the Prince of Orange and the "Netherlanders." An alternate perspective would be an enjoyable read. I picked up Andrew Fields' "Waterloo: The French Perspective" yesterday, which so far in is a very good read.

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20th East Devonshire Regiment of Foot
XI British Brigade
VI Division
III Peninsular Corps


We have always been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be detested in France.
-- Sir Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington


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 Post subject: Re: Waterloo books
PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2023 5:19 pm 
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I want to read Field's book too. It find it interesting to hate on the Dutch after how they fought at Quatre Bras... I guess not being British is enough lol

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 Post subject: Re: Waterloo books
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2023 9:47 pm 
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I liked Barbero.

On the "Waterloo" front I got for Xmas the 2 volumes on Waterloo by John Hussey.

Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815. Volume I: From Elba to Ligny and Quatre Bras
Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815: Volume II - From Waterloo to the Restoration of Peace in Europe

They are waiting on my bed side table.

It should be a good and long read.

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3ème Régiment de Grenadiers - Bataillon d'élite du 3ème Légère
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Napoléon Bonaparte

Military justice is to justice what military music is to music.
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