The Battle A New History of Waterloo


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Walker & Company


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0802715001

9780802715005

340 Pages

$18.00

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The famed battle fought at Waterloo on June 18, 1815, was one of the most momentous in history. Some seventy thousand men under Napoleon and an equal number commanded by the Duke of Wellington faces each other that day; their struggle was titanic and bloody; and in the end, as John Keegan notes, contemporaries felt that Napoleon's defeat had "reversed the tide of European history." Even 190 years later, the name "Waterloo" resounds loudly.

Italian historian Alessandro Barbero's account of the historic battle gives voice to all the nationalities that took part. Invoking the memories of British, French, and Prussian soldiers, Barbero recreates the conflict as it unfolded, from General Reille's early afternoon assault on the chateau of Hougoumont, to the desperate last charge of Napoleon's Imperial Guard as evening settled in. Drawing on accounts from privates to generals, he recounts individual miracles and tragedies, moments of courage and foolhardiness, and offers observations on weapons and strategy, blending them all into the larger narrative of the battle's extraordinary ebb and flow. One is left with images of cavalry charges against soldiers formed in squares; skirmishers hiding in tall grass; the hand-to-hand combat around the farmhouse; endless cannonballs and smoke.

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ALESSANDRO BARBERO is professor of Medieval History at the University of Piemonte Orientale in Vercelli, Italy. He is the author of Charlemagne: Father of a Continent, and also of several historical novels, one of which, also set in the Napoleonic age, won the Strega Prize, Italy's most distinguished literary award.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Alessandro Barbero is professor of medieval history at the University of Piemonte Orientale in Vercelli, Italy. He is the author of Charlemagne: Father of a Continent and of several historical novels, one of which, also set in the Napoleonic age, won the Strega Prize, Italy's most distinguished literary award.
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