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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthwhile Read - but keep plenty of salt handy..., 18 July 2010
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This review is from: Waterloo: New Perspectives - The Great Battle Reappraised (Hardcover)
I've had this book for several years, but had been rather put off by some of the almost hysterical reviews I have seen. I finally got around to reading it, and am very pleasantly surprised. As a piece of popular history, it is written vigorously and skilfully, although Mr Hamilton-Williams (or whatever his real name is) has a tendency to express himself in rather extreme terms. This is entertaining, once you get the hang of it, but maybe doesn't imbue some of his more unusual theories with the sort of scholarly dignity which would help him to be taken seriously.

I'm a keen amateur student of military history - I would not claim to be an expert on Waterloo, but I have read pretty widely on the period, and I know enough to able to take the book on its merits. And it certainly has merits - from a positive aspect, this is well put together and stimulating, and it is invaluable as a challenge to some of the patriotic and time-honoured distortions which are built into our received understanding of these events. If anything gets you thinking, gets you to question an accepted standpoint, then it is potentially useful. On the negative side, some of the ideas are a little on the wild side, and (as mentioned elsewhere) the sources are questionable, and sometimes incestuous (the first chapter, almost exclusively, quotes Mr H-W's other book on the period as a reference, without further detail). The author is at times fatiguingly partial - his world is clearly full of good guys and bad guys, though no more so than some of the reviewers visible here.

But it's great stuff - it hangs together well, it certainly drew my attention to a lot of things I hadn't seen or thought about before, and is generally a breath of fresh air. I recommend it very strongly, but don't make it the only book on Waterloo you ever read (a balanced diet would also include David Chandler, Jacques Logie and Peter Hofschroer and - if you want something of completely opposite polarity, Jac Weller's eulogy of Wellington). It usefully draws attention to a lot of accepted hokum posing as history; the big flaw is that it proposes to replace much of it with ideas which are at best questionable, and are sometimes maybe just more, different hokum.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Perpective on Old Perceptions?, 23 Jan. 2008
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This review is from: Waterloo: New Perspectives - The Great Battle Reappraised (Hardcover)
There cannot be another battle in history which has given rise to so many books.

Whilst there is some argument over the content, and the reversal of many of the previously accepted theories as to the events on the battlefield, there can be few other books on the subject that have a greater number of named sources of information.

The Siborne model is examined and discarded as flawed with well placed arguments and references to sources from all over Europe, not just the UK, and some of the French references were certainly at odds with Allied records, exactly as one would expect for different viewpoints.

Worth buying for the list of references and sources alone and certainly deserving of a place in any required reading material on the Great Battle.
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8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and enjoyable read., 13 Mar. 2000
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This review is from: Waterloo: New Perspectives - The Great Battle Reappraised (Hardcover)
Hard to put down, an excellent and honest account of the lead up to and the battle of Waterloo. This book is written to appeal to someone familiar with the history, or to someone who is interested in finding out!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars refreshingly honest appraisal, 13 Oct. 2012
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A new look at Waterloo without the usual jaundiced boring jingoistic view of the battle also it destroys the myth of some not all of the ill informed writers that Wellington was an infaliable military tactician likewise Napoleon. An excellent informative read the battle described in away that leads the reader to smell the spent gunpowder and her the screams and shouts of the injured. It also puts paid to the claims that Sidbourne got it right. What a book what a read what an author.
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Waterloo: New Perspectives - The Great Battle Reappraised
Waterloo: New Perspectives - The Great Battle Reappraised by David Hamilton-Williams (Hardcover - 1 Jan. 2000)
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