Wellington at Waterloo, Jac Weller

Wellington at Waterloo, Jac Weller

In a market that is crowded with books on Waterloo, Wellington and Napoleon Weller has managed the impressive feet of producing a book that takes a novel approach to the battle. Rather than present us with an overview of events, he tells the story of the battle as far as possible from Wellington's point of view, telling us only those things that Wellington knew at any particular point. His aim was to try and get a better understanding of why Wellington made the decisions he did, and what impact he had on the outcome of the battle.

One side-effect of this approach is that we very rarely glimpse Napoleon. His subordinates, who actually directed the repeated attacks on the Allied lines, feature more prominently, and Weller does take the time to examine the reasons for both the attacks themselves and the formations used in each one (while also admitting that in some cases it isn't possible to be entirely sure what happened, despite, or perhaps because of, the large number of memoirs and accounts produced by participants in the fighting).

The main text is followed by sections looking at the mistakes said to have been made by Wellington, the French and the Prussians. In many cases Weller provides convincing reasons why these decisions were made, while other criticisms of Wellington (and to a lesser extent of Napoleon) are simply erroneous. This is the only section of the book in which Weller indulges in the 'what ifs?' that can dominate books on Waterloo.

Weller found a worthwhile new approach to the battle of Waterloo, and has produced a valuable addition to the extensive literature on the battle. Comes as highly recommended now as when it was first published twenty years ago.

Chapters
Part One
1 - A Brief Interval of Peace
2 - Organisation, Tactics and Strategy of the Contending Armies
3 - Wellington, Britain and the Allies to 15 June 1815
4 - Napoleon attacks the Prussians
5 - Quatre Bas
6 - Retreat to Waterloo and Battle Preparations
7 - Hougoumont
8 - D'Erlon and Uxbridge
9 - The French Cavalry Attacks
10 - The Loss of La Haye Sainte
11 - The Prussians on 18 June 1815
12 - The Left Flank
13 - The Crisis
14 - The Pursuit and the End of the War
15 - Analysis of Victory

Part Two
1 - Ordnance used at Waterloo
2 - Wellington's mistakes
3 - French mistakes
4 - Prussian mistakes
5 - Cavalry attacks on Infantry squares
6 - Waterloo Campaign Topography
Appendix: Strengths of the Contending Forces

Author: Jac Weller
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 264
Publisher: Frontline
Year: 2010 edition of 1992 original


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