Waterloo: New Perspectives: The Great Battle Reappraised

Waterloo: New Perspectives: The Great Battle Reappraised

by David Hamilton-Williams
     
 

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Waterloo: 18 June 1815: one of the greatest and most studied battles in history, now remarkably reassessed to reveal new intrigue, mystery, deceit, lies and error compounded over 175 years. How can this be so and for this book to claim such unique qualities when the event took place so long ago and is the subject of thousands of books? It is possible to make such a… See more details below

Overview

Waterloo: 18 June 1815: one of the greatest and most studied battles in history, now remarkably reassessed to reveal new intrigue, mystery, deceit, lies and error compounded over 175 years. How can this be so and for this book to claim such unique qualities when the event took place so long ago and is the subject of thousands of books? It is possible to make such a claim, and justifiably so. Waterloo had so many political and military implications that barely had the smoke of battle cleared than historians were examining every detail of the conflict. Prominent among these was Captain William Siborne who, while not at the battle, decided to create the definitive model of it. He thus obtained many hundreds of first-hand accounts of the action and movements on the day from the regiments involved. But, in receiving and circulating correspondence to so many people, he quickly exhausted the funds available and sought sponsorship from regiments involved. From that moment on, this "official" model became fatally corrupted. Those providing funds could also ensure their presence on the model and in any position desired, accurate, corroborated or otherwise. When the Siborne letters were published, only 180 were used. Unsurprisingly, they were only those supporting the positions of the troops on the model as laid out by Siborne, those funding Siborne and - worse yet - only from British officers, thus creating a fantastic historical fake. From the mid-nineteenth century to date, scholars have written theses and detailed studies, and built reputations on the basis of the dubious and imbalanced published letters. Although all remaining Siborne letters have long been open to study, no one until now has undertaken the comparative work required to provide the complete picture which Siborne could have created but never did. David Hamilton-Williams is the first historian to complete a comprehensive evaluation of all the Siborne letters. This and other original research has provide

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Initially published in England, this first volume in a proposed trilogy concerning the last years of Napoleon I's reign is a meticulously detailed account of the Battle of Waterloo that sets right some of the errors and omissions of fact committed by earlier contemporary authors. These center on the roles played by Britain's allies in the campaign, such as the Dutch and Belgian troops, which have been largely ignored or downplayed since the 1840s. By using original narratives, both allied and French, the author, a British Napoleonic researcher, has produced an objective battle history revealing the crucial mistakes and successful actions of all participants. He also reveals the disharmony between the British and Prussian commanders and the duplicity of the British government with regards to the Bourbon restoration and its effects on Wellington's tactics. Recommended for specialized collections.-David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L.
Roland Green
This stout, expensive volume on the Battle of Waterloo is not for the raw beginning student but for serious Napoleonic scholars. Revisionist in the best sense of the word, Napoleonic scholar Hamilton-Williams argues persuasively that William Siborne, considered the battle's definitive historian, allowed too many errors to creep into his account because of his financial dependence on his sources. To sort matters out, Hamilton-Williams proceeds to cover the entire campaign, from Napoleon's return from Elba to the French retreat afterward. He will raise some eyebrows, and he will not persuade many to throw out nearly two centuries of scholarship in one fell swoop. But he will also be acknowledged to have offered a superior account of the campaign--free of nationalist bias, thoroughly researched, and clearly written.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471052258
Publisher:
Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/1994
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.49(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.64(d)

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