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Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles [Kindle Edition]

Bernard Cornwell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (531 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From the internationally bestselling author of the Sharpe novels – this is the true story of Waterloo.

On the 18th June, 1815 the armies of France, Britain and Prussia descended upon a quiet valley south of Brussels. In the previous three days the French army had beaten the British at Quatre-Bras and the Prussians at Ligny. The Allies were in retreat.

The blood-soaked battle of Waterloo would become a landmark in European history, to be examined over and again, not least because until the evening of the 18th, the French army was close to prevailing on the battlefield.

Now, brought to life by the celebrated novelist Bernard Cornwell, this is the chronicle of the four days leading up to the actual battle and a thrilling hour-by-hour account of that fateful day.

In his first work of non-fiction, Cornwell combines his storytelling skills with a meticulously researched history to give a riveting account of every dramatic moment, from Napoleon’s escape from Elba to the smoke and gore of the battlefields. Through letters and diaries he also sheds new light on the private thoughts of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington, as well as the ordinary officers and soldiers.

Published ahead of the upcoming bicentenary in 2015, Waterloo is a tense and gripping story of heroism and tragedy – and of the final battle that determined the fate of Europe.

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Product Description


Praise for Waterloo:

‘[…] An account that is both vivid and scholarly. Readers new to the Waterloo campaign could hope for no better introduction, and veterans will find fresh insights.’ Independent

‘Cornwell is excellent on the minutiae of tactics […] he offers narrative clarity, and a sure grip on personalities and period.’ Max Hastings, The Sunday Times

‘An excellent first foray into non-fiction, and proof that good narrative history is no different from fiction – it’s all about the story.’ Evening Standard

‘A gripping “fife and drum” account […] beautifully produced.’ Country Life

Praise for Bernard Cornwell’s previous titles:

‘The best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present. Cornwell really makes history come alive.’ George R.R. Martin

‘Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.’ Observer

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord series, the Grail Quest and the Alfred series and standalone battle books Azincourt and The Fort.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 48942 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (11 Sept. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (531 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #212 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series and the Alfred series.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I have been fascinated by this crucial battle since I was twelve years of age and have thirty two books on the battle. I really enjoyed this; Cornwell is a wonderful narrator and applies his skills as a storyteller to a complex series of encounters during the '100 days' that bring the conflict to life, hint at the great 'what ifs' of the encounter, and are full of little details that I have enjoyed discovering for the first time. It is true that this is not the account of a military historian, and will not necessarily satisfy students looking for detail of the actions at Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo, but it is a worthy edition to the library of books on this subject, and brings the Battle(s) to life in a way that a military historian will struggle to achieve. I thought it was great value at £25 - it is beautifully produced, and printed; at £5 it is an absolute steal. If you want one book to understand the struggle, buy it. You will not be disappointed.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The basic facts about the Battle of Waterloo are not contentious: it was fought on Sunday 18th June, in Belgium, about 9 miles south of Brussels. A British army led by the Duke of Wellington joined forces with a Prussian army led by General von Blucher and defeated a French army led by Napoleon. Out of a total of nearly 200,000 combatants on all sides, nearly 50,000 died on the field.
There are already numerous books available on the subject, and no doubt, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the battle, there will be plenty more. So why write another book on the subject? If one leaves aside commercial factors, the answer is that `every man's account will be different' - those are the words of the Duke of Wellington.
So why read this version of the battle by Bernard Cornwell?
One good reason is that this book also deals with the frequently overlooked battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny that occurred in the 3 days before Waterloo, and in which the French inflicted heavy losses on the British and the Prussians: a reminder that Napoleon and his army were formidable opponents.
Another good reason is that - as one would expect from a book by Bernard Cornwell - the book is highly readable and entertaining. Cornwell is seldom content to mention a key player without mentioning an anecdote that reveals something of their personality. Some anecdotes are hilarious - including one about a British officer who fooled a French general into believing he was an American officer (despite wearing a British uniform) and hitched a ride in his carriage. The book contains fascinating personal information about Wellington and Napoleon, and many others. Some years after Waterloo, Wellington met some former French officers who rudely turned their backs on him at a social function.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent ballance of detail and storytelling. 19 Mar. 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Over many years I have read many accounts of the Battle of Waterloo, some primary source letters from Private Wheeler, Rifleman Harris and of course Captain Kincaid and some from military buffs that seem to have devoted their lives to the study of this battle, but I have to declare that this is the most enjoyable. Even better than David Howarth's "A Near Run Thing"!

It has just the right amount of detail to add authenticity yet balanced with the human perspective to bring the obvious exhilaration, fear and misery of the conflict. There are shelves of dry books out there to give you the military detail if that's what you desire but for general all round entertainment based upon sound factual occurrences I would advise you read this one. (but also Howarth's!)
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the read 26 Nov. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have read many non-fiction historical books, but not one on Waterloo and hence I am no expert and in no position to comment on the historical accuracy of this book. However, I found the book a ripping good read and it has made me want to read more on the battle and individuals involved, which cannot be a bad thing.

From reading the reviews, it would seem if you're an expert on Waterloo avoid this book, if you're not and want an intro to the battle(s), I thoroughly recommend it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The Battle of Waterloo has fascinated me for many years, especially as family legend states that an ancestor fought there with the Dragoons. I hope to find out in 2015 whether there is truth in the legend!
This book doesn't pull any punches, virtually from page one it gives a detailed and very graphic account of the days leading up to the battle and then the main battle itself. As Cornwell himself admits, nobody really knows all the details of the battle due to the smoke and confusion on the day and varius different accounts exist. However, this is a fabulous book and I found it very difficult to put down as the story of the battle was so compelling with fortunes changing almost minute by minute for each side.
There are numerous anecdotes from those who took part in the battle, many are very graphic and show just how horrific and gruesome a day it must have been.
I am no expert on this battle and some reviews say this book contains mistakes, but I found it extremely interesting and well written. I would have liked the maps of the battlefield to have been more detailed and a little larger, but overall I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in this famous and utterly brutal battle.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!
If you're apprehensive about departing from the usual Cornwell fiction - don't be! I listened to the audiobook version (despite owning the hard copy) and it totally sucked me in. Read more
Published 7 hours ago by M. Marshall
5.0 out of 5 stars Waterloo
Really enjoyable account of the battle. Brought in a lot of detail of events on the day along with accounts from survivors of the horror of the battle. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Bob Elrick
4.0 out of 5 stars the making of history.
Well written carefully explains myths and the timeline sequence of the battle really brings it home how desperate the the battle was for all participants.
Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant book
Published 2 days ago by Mr. Peter Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Saw this just as they were advertising the anniversary of the battle. Very good read
Published 2 days ago by Donald Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent read covering all aspects of the four days.
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My husband loved it thank you
Published 3 days ago by debs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great readable book on historic battle, highly recommended.
Terrific, readable book by Bernard Cornwell. With the 200 th anniversary just having taken place, this was the ideal book to learn about the battle. Read more
Published 3 days ago by cartman
5.0 out of 5 stars History with a heart!
I didn't think I would enjoy this book. As it has been the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, I bought it to find out the facts in detail. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Mazza B
5.0 out of 5 stars The amazing fortunes of war
A unique well researched account in detail of the amazing fortunes of war in this complex battle, plus a compelling read.
Published 4 days ago by Gerald Ezard
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