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Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron Read the opening extract of the brand new Sophie Cameron book before its publication on 22/03/2018

Witnessing Waterloo 12 Hours, 48 Lives, A World Forever Changed by David Crane

Witnessing Waterloo 12 Hours, 48 Lives, A World Forever Changed


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[Previously published as 'Went The Day Well'] David Crane’s history not only illuminates the Battle of Waterloo but also brings light to bear on Britain and the toll of the wars with Napoleon, the dead and the maimed, scarcely a family in the country was unaffected by the wars. He introduces people and events from the times, each a building block in an account that builds to a very satisfying whole. His portrayal of the battles and the people involved is excellently done. ~ Sue Baker

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In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon's Wars 1793-1815, Jenny Uglow

The Waterloo Companion: The Complete Guide to History's Most Famous Land Battle, Mark Adkin


Witnessing Waterloo 12 Hours, 48 Lives, A World Forever Changed by David Crane

[Previously published as 'Went The Day Well'] 'Of all the books marking the bicentenary Waterloo, this has to be the best' Spectator 'A book to die for' Evening Standard From Samuel Johnson Prize shortlisted author David Crane, this is a breathtaking portrait of the Britain that fought the battle of Waterloo. As Wellington's rain-sodden army retreated towards an obscure valley called Waterloo, the men and women of Britain were still going to the theatre and science lectures, working in the fields and the factories, reading and writing books and sermons, painting their pictures and sitting in front of Lord Elgin's marbles. David Crane's stunning freeze-frame of Britain on this day of momentous change shifts hour by hour between Britain and Belgium. The Britain that fought Waterloo - its radicals and patriots, artisans and aristocrats, prisoners and poets - appears through the smoke of battle and the mythology of Waterloo in this magnificent and original tracing of the endless, overlapping connections between people's lives.


'Magnificent ... by far the most enjoyable account of the battle I have ever encountered. Crane has had the brilliant idea of interweaving a fast, colourful narrative of the battle with the story of what was happening in Britain ... it is a social and cultural panorama, taking in everything from murderers and vicars to portrait-painters and prize-fighters ... [Featuring] countless beautifully observed moments ... Crane has a superb eye for fascinating little nuggets'
Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail

'It will be hard to match the sheer verve and brilliance of David Crane's evocation. Frame by frame, like a great stop-motion film, we see ... heroes, villains, the innocent, the fortunate and damned, and the merely damned lucky. Crane weaves hour by hour diverging and coalescing human dramas of the day with deft originality. Here literary art trumps television drama at its best. It paints a brilliant continuous action drama of Britain then, and in doing so suggests an awful lot about Britain, its tastes and foibles, today ... a book to die for'
Robert Fox, Evening Standard

'A fascinating snapshot ... It's beautifully written, absorbingly researched and paints a vivid canvas where the mundane details are as fascinating as the momentous battle'
Sunday Express

'Strikingly urgent and vivid'
Mail on Sunday

'Of all the big battalions of books marking the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo, this has to be the best. Crane has used the bloody campaign as a telescope, bringing into sharp focus not just the carnage ... but the state of Britain itself ... The result is a rich feast: dramatic, poignant, funny, gruesome and tragic by turns. Crane selects a small cast to people his narrative, and involves us in their destinies without ever losing sight of the bigger picture'
Nigel Jones, Spectator

'Terrific... an engaging book'

'Sheer quality... In giving us a multifaceted portrait of the Regency age, he makes us think again about the battle and its impact on the British'
Literary Review

About the Author

David Crane's first book, 'Lord Byron's Jackal' was published to great acclaim in 1998, and his second, 'The Kindness of Sisters' published in 2002, is a groundbreaking work of romantic biography. In 2005 the highly acclaimed 'Scott of the Antarctic' was published, followed by 'Men of War', a collection of 19th Century naval biographies, in 2009. His 'Empires of the Dead' was shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize. He lives in north-west Scotland.

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Book Info

Publication date

22nd February 2016


David Crane

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William Collins an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


384 pages


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



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