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Waterloo Four Days That Changed Europe's Destiny by Tim Clayton

Sue Baker's view...

A very readable account of the Waterloo Battle from Tim Clayton, who does a masterful job in attempting the huge job of separating fact from fiction and the highly coloured account from the truth. Historians were besieging the Duke of Wellington within weeks of the battle, each wanting to publish the first “true” account, since then hundreds of accounts have been published and now the internet is being used to try to piece together the action of the day. A massive task then to try to provide a true and overarching picture, I am no expert but it seemed to me that Tim Clayton has succeeded and has also provided a rich dramatic story of a battle fought and nearly lost.

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Who is Sue Baker


Waterloo Four Days That Changed Europe's Destiny by Tim Clayton

The bloodbath at Waterloo ended a war that had engulfed the world for over twenty years. It also finished the career of the charismatic Napoleon Bonaparte. It ensured the final liberation of Germany and the restoration of the old European monarchies, and it represented one of very few defeats for the glorious French army, most of whose soldiers remained devoted to their Emperor until the very end. Extraordinary though it may seem, much about the Battle of Waterloo has remained uncertain, with many major features of the campaign hotly debated. Most histories have depended heavily on the evidence of British officers that were gathered about twenty years after the battle. But the recent publication of an abundance of fresh first-hand accounts from soldiers of all the participating armies has illuminated important episodes and enabled radical reappraisal of the course of the campaign. What emerges is a darker, muddier story, no longer biased by notions of regimental honour, but a tapestry of irony, accident, courage, horror and human frailty. An epic page turner, rich in dramatic human detail and grounded in first-class scholarly research, Waterloo is the real inside story of the greatest land battle in British history, the defining showdown of the age of muskets, bayonets, cavalry and cannon.


'Magnificent and magisterial Literary Review A quite brilliant piece of meticulous historical detective work ... I have no doubt that this book will become a classic' Scotland on Sunday

'Clayton makes the fog of war central to the narrative; we are pitched into the chaos and din of Waterloo ... We experience it as Wellington or Napoleon or an ordinary soldier would have done' Daily Telegraph

'Stirring ... a fabulous story, superbly told' -- Max Hastings Sunday Times

'Tim Clayton not only gives a masterful account of the battle that changed the face of Europe but also sets it in its proper context ... Clayton manages the difficult trick in military history of providing a blow-by-blow account without losing the flow of the narrative' Express

'An incisive analysis of how the battle unravelled and why' The Times

About the Author

Tim Clayton was educated at Cambridge University where he specialised in the graphic satire of James Gillray. He is the award winning and bestselling author of a number of books on naval and military history, including the winner of the 2008 Mountbatten Literary Award, Tars, and the critically acclaimed Trafalgar. Tim is also an Associate Fellow of the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is currently working at the British Museum as co-curator of the exhibition Bonaparte and the British, which will be shown in 2015 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th February 2015


Tim Clayton

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Abacus an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


704 pages


Biography / Autobiography
eBook Favourites

Napoleonic Wars
European history
Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900



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