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Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles

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

Bernard Cornwell
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)

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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

Praise for Bernard Cornwell’s previous titles:

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

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

Product 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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 48239 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (11 Sep 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (236 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,080 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
29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Dave
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Let met start off by saying that I'm a fan of Bernard Cornwell's novels. On the whole, they're great escapism and I can enjoy a little bit of history and a bit of action without overly worrying about historical accuracy. They generally go along at a decent clip and are good fun.

So given his obvious interest in the period, I had high hopes for this book. I was disappointed.

It really brings nothing new to the battle, except confirming Cornwell's dislike of "Slender Billy", who is unique in the cast of characters for seemingly always being referred to by a (derogatory) nickname. It would seem to be only fair to have referred to Wellington as "the sepoy general" or "nosey" and Napoleon as "the little corporal" if nicknames were going to be the order of the day.

As have been pointed out in other reviews, there are errors of fact, but I'm fairly certain that if you wanted an academically rigorous account of the battle, you wouldn't be using this book anyway.

It's a personal thing, but I disliked Cornwell's switching between present and past tense when describing aspects of the battles. I suppose that he did this to add drama, but I found it disconcerting instead. I'd put it down to poor editing before I realised that it was intentional. Then it just annoyed me.

At the end of the day, it boils down to this: if you've read about the battle before, whether in Longford's "Years of the Sword", Weller's "Wellington at Waterloo" or the brilliant Barbero's "The Battle: A New History of Waterloo" then the only thing that waits for you in Cornwell's book is disappointment.

And if you want to learn about the battle then any of the three books above (and there are others as well) would be a much better purchase than this.
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88 of 105 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This book is not a history of Waterloo 8 Oct 2014
Seldom do I give up on a book, and as readers of this review will see, even more infrequently do I decide to write and post a book review on Amazon (and rest assured I will also post this review on a number of highly influential history forums). But the inflated reception to this publication has left me with little alternative.

I should really have known better when examining the title: `Waterloo - The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles'. Yes, engagements did take place over four days and there were three armies in the Low Countries, but there were actually four battles, fought as dual-actions. Nonetheless, upon purchasing the book I was pleased with the overall presentation, and the fact that the images inside were in colour (although several of these are mislabelled, and a number were clearly taken from low resolution online sources). Unfortunately, these two elements proved to be the major positives in an otherwise hugely disappointing production.

Now, perhaps I should clarify that I have more than a passing interest in Waterloo, as I have studied the campaign in great detail for many years. So when a fellow author states that their work is a `history' I expect them to have undertaken a reasonable level of research. But what we find with Mr. Cornwell's work is that it is littered with the most basic errors. Indeed, there are so many it is almost impossible to list them here. The style of narration is not to my liking, as use of the present tense is clearly unsuitable. (However, I fully appreciate that those who watch American made history documentaries may well find it acceptable.
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59 of 72 people found the following review helpful
By NMS1975
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
With the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 2015 it is perhaps unsurprising that a plethora of new books on the battle have appeared in bookshops towards the end of 2014, with many more due for release early in the New Year. You might, faced with so many to choose from, feel lost or confused as to which ones would be best to read. So when one hears that Bernard Cornwell, the author of the incredibly successful Sharpe series, has written such a book it is understandable that much excitement follows. However, it is with great sadness that, after reading his new work, the author of this review must inform his readers that Cornwell's Waterloo book is one to avoid!

The book is littered with inaccuracies, and while many aspects of history are debatable there are also many undisputed facts, that no one with a serious interest in the battle will find it of value. For example, Cornwell refers to Comte d'Erlon as a Marshal of France, he wasn't; he refers to the Colonel of the 52nd Light Infantry as `Colville' when it is in fact `Colborne'; he states French infantry battalions were made up of eight companies, they had six; and some of the translation from the original French are badly done. He persistently refers to the Duke of Orange as `Slender Billy', which although was the derogatory nickname given to him by the British troops at the time, leads the reader to believe the author is overly bias in his account, rather than the objective historian he should be.

Admittedly the first couple of chapters do get the reader hooked, but if you are someone with prior knowledge of the battle you will soon encounter the mistakes mentioned above, and many more!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I enjoyed reading it.
Published 3 hours ago by MR. HUGH PRATT
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I enjoyed this book very much. Reading real soldiers accounts was illuminating.
Published 6 hours ago by William David Wells
5.0 out of 5 stars Always excellent!
Firstly, great price from Amazon...thank you! Secondly, it's written by Bernard Cornwell!
I am not an academic or a renowned historian... Read more
Published 6 hours ago by DBWM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
its a present.
Looks good
Published 1 day ago by volta
5.0 out of 5 stars superb read, typical Bernard Cornwell.
superb read,typical Bernard Cornwell.
Published 2 days ago by peter h.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work
An excellent narrative which flows seamlessly with passionate and intelligent analysis. Cornwell deserves 5 stars for his clearly structured, objective and detailed stance on a... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Benjamin Allen
3.0 out of 5 stars a struggle
You have to be something of a history nut to enjoy this factual account. I'm used to the fiction based Viking stories of cornwell so I chose wrong really
Published 3 days ago by simon harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very informative!
Published 4 days ago by A R Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars always been led to believe Blucher arrived late on purpose ...
always been led to believe Blucher arrived late on purpose. Also British history teachers in the 70's didnt tell us he was crushed by his horse, nor that he was 74 years old
Published 4 days ago by malcolm owen
2.0 out of 5 stars A somewhat dull account with interesting factual content but certainly...
A somewhat dull account with interesting factual content but certainly not a gripping recounting of history. Off to the next Uhtred!
Published 5 days ago by debcambs
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