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on 26 August 2007
Like me, you may well shop on Amazon on a budget, adding your target books to favourites and waiting for a copy with a torn cover to come up for 50p. In other words, you want value. If that's the case you would hardly look at this book - £30 new and around £25 Used and New. My friend, if you are interested in Waterloo BLOW THE BUDGET ON THIS BOOK. Use the `Search Inside' facility on the Amazon website - it gives you a good idea of the clarity of the writing, the superb quality of the maps and the use of boxes in the text (almost extended footnotes) to record topics that would slow the narrative but provide good background detail.
There is a lot of information here on the armies, their organisation (which didn't interest me very much) and their battle tactics (which is superb). In fact, the actual coverage of the 18th June itself probably only takes up about half the book, but given that the whole thing is over 400 pages, who cares!
The sections on the battle are illustrated with lots of great pictures of the battlefield today, taken on foot and giving you a feel for gradients, lines-of-sight, etc. Of course, the ground around the crossroads has altered a lot but combined with the superb detailed maps you can take this into account. The text is clear and considering the number of Waterloo books there are, the thinking is quite original. The sections addressing controversies (the "what ifs?" is fascinating because the author so clearly `knows his stuff'.
I paid £45 for this book when it came out, have read it several times cover to cover, and use it for reference. I love David Haworth's book on Waterloo and Barberro tells a more conventional chronological account but if the house was on fire and I could only rescue one Waterloo book, this would be it.
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on 3 March 2006
This book is bigger and has more information than most Peninsular War or Napolionic books put together. It has all the facts that are unparalled and includes the myths like "Would Napoleon have won if he started the battle early" and so forth. The battle maps have been put on a modern level showing motorways and contours and in the 1815 level how it looked then both are excellent. The battle movements are also put in the 1815 map to make it easy to see where every body is. It has a blow by blow account of the battle in the most detail and shows the Infantry, Cavalry and Artillary moving around the battle zone. The photos are from the present battle field but also have the 1815 troop dispostitions superimposed on them which is very informative. You get an idea of what was going on and where. It also has great plates (16 in all), diagrams and army's personal equipment including the weapons and how to form infantry squares, Cavalry movements, helmets style and Artillary firing positions. The text boxes are very informative and a brilliant addition to the book.
This book could be used as a Napoleonic book in it's own right and you can never put it down.
Exciting to read and look over, informative and an excellent book to take with you to Waterloo.
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on 4 September 2001
With the thousands of books on the subject of Waterloo, it is extremely difficult to approach the subject from a new direction. The author appears to have succeeded to a great extent. All aspects of the battle are covered, including detailed maps, diagrams of the important buildings, comprehensive orders of battle (of those units on the battlefield, but not others involved in the campaign generally), biographical details of senior commanders, and substantial coverage of the tactics and use of the three service arms (Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery). The author has attempted simply (if that is the word) to project a detailed over-view of all of the different aspects of a single day of battle. Quatre-Bras, Ligny and Wavre are briefly mentioned, but the emphasis is entirely concentrated on Waterloo and the armies fighting there. If there are any aspects of the battle which have puzzled you over the years, this will be a major source-book for years to come. And according to the dust-jacket, the author is compiling a similar book on Trafalgar, having already written on the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava in his earlier book "The Charge! It is very interesting to find an author who succeeds in casting new light on what may have been thought to be over-analysed battles.
Heartily recommended to all military historians.
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on 12 September 2002
A well thought out and clear book that was excellent for someone like myself who has an interest in the battle but isn't an expert. The book gives some very clear photographs and diagrams which explain the flow of the battle very well which together with some good insights make this an enjoyable book to pick up and reread either from cover to cover or specific chapters.
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on 3 October 2003
My only regret about this book is it's size - it's really hard to carry a copy about the battlefield! But Mark Adkins treatment is otherwise so detailed and so comprehensive that no-one can seriously complain. And the "current" view photographs are so good that theoretically you don't have to go to the battlefield to understand what happened there (how is he going to do the same thing in the forthcoming companion to Trafalgar? All those pictures of waves will be a bit dull!). Adkin is also impressively objective - a rare thing in the recently re-opened controversies about this battle. If you are even vaguley interested in this battle, don't hesitate: buy this book.
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on 7 October 2005
As a Waterloo enthusiast, I was highly impressed with the outstanding quality of the 'Waterloo Companion'. I'm interested in uniform details, the campaign itself, units on the battlefield, tactics of the period, etc.. and this book has it all. I took the book to the battlefield and compared the landscape with the pictures in the book and the location of the different units, which made my understanding of the battle much better. Also, the accurate sequence of events and description and plans of fights around the farms is excellent. Highly recommended.
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on 3 October 2005
Concise, well-illustrated, informative... Completely brilliant.
Provides all the facts about the armies, commanders, the battlefield and the events in the form of maps, diagrams, illustrations, photos and text.
Also includes many anecdotes, myths and controversies, and contemporary quotes. Anyone who is studying or interested in Napoleonic history should get this book.
I also look forward to reading the Trafalgar Companion...
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on 29 October 2003
This is a superb work on a battle that has gone down as one of the most famous in history and as such is full of myths. Which are all addressed by the author in detail and with an approach that gives a great understanding to the events around and in waterloo.With the aid of photos and maps as well as a first class collection of colour plates showing the uniforms worn by all sides this has to be the most complete telling of waterloo there forget about the other books on this subject if you are new to this period or someone looking for a well written book packed with detail this is that book.
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on 15 January 2002
There is not a single page of this book that does not impress - it is a stunning work that sets a new standard in military history.
The greatest impression is the enormous amount of beautiful diagrams, maps and photographs. I have been reading books on Waterloo for years and yet not understood certain aspects that this volume has made instantly clear with a combination of illustration and clear exposition.
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on 23 February 2005
an outrageously value for money book
outstanding in everyway
pity every book can not be like this superb tome
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