The first shots were fired at about eleven-thirty on a Sunday morning in June, 1815; by nine o'clock that night, forty thousand men lay dead or wounded, and Napoleon had abandoned not only his army, but all hope of recovering his empire. From the recollections of the men who were there, esteemed author David Howarth has recreated the battle as it appeared to them on the day it was fought. He follows the fortunes of men of all ranks and on both sides. But it is on the French side that the mysteries remain. Why did Ney attack with cavalry alone? And was Napoleon's downfall really due to the minor ailment he suffered that day? Beautifully written, vivid, and unforgettable, this illuminating history is impossible to put down.