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military history
The Battle of Waterloo
 
 
Author
Jeremy Black.
Publisher Random House  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.25 x 5.7 x 0.95 inches
ISBN 9781400067374
Pages/Publication Date 236/2010
Daedalus Item Code 30040
This item is not available.
Description
With fresh details and interpretations, British historian Jeremy Black places Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo within the context of the warfare of the period, showing that his modern army was beaten by Britain and Prussia with techniques stretching back to antiquity, including close-quarter combat. Here are the fateful early stages, from Napoleon's strategy of surprise attack—perhaps spoiled by the defection of one of his own commanders—to his younger brother's wasteful efforts assaulting the farm called Hougoumont. And here is the endgame, including Commander Michel Ney's botched cavalry charge against the Anglo-Dutch line and the solid British resistance against a series of French cavalry strikes, with Napoleon "repeating defeat and reinforcing failure."

"Reviewing theories for deployment of infantry, artillery, and cavalry, Black recounts their practical results in the Napoleonic Wars, rating the 1812 Battle of Borodino as the harbinger of Waterloo. In both, Napoleon adopted the frontal assault, but at Waterloo, Black argues, his poor coordination between the infantry and cavalry probably denied the French a victory in the battle's early hours, when the initial attack pierced Wellington's line but was thrown back. If a critic of Napoleon's battlefield decisions, Black is not a facile one; he underscores options available to Napoleon during the daylong carnage's changing tactical situation; they finally vanished when the Prussian army arrived and crushed the French right flank. Black's consideration of Wellington's command performance is equally subtle and supports the British general's pithy quotation of Waterloo as the 'nearest-run thing you ever saw.' Incorporating the international political context, Black's incisive appraisal taps the enduring interest in this ghastly, decisive battle."—Booklist

 
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