History of War

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WATERLOO

A FASCINATING SOCIAL HISTORY OF A PIVOTAL BATTLE

Author: Alan Forrest Publisher: Folio Society Price: £39.95

As Alan Forrest makes clear in his introduction to this book, he is not a military historian and that’s precisely why this deep dive into the Battle of Waterloo is so fascinating and rich. Rather than being caught up on the microcosm of events on 18 June 1815, Forrest looks to paint a broader and multinational picture. This is not just the story of Napoleon facing off against the Duke of Wellington (although both are given prominent amounts of ink as their contribution would demand), but of many nations, each with their own reasons for being in Belgium on this day, bringing about a final defeat for a would-be emperor. The battle itself takes up only a single 20-page chapter.

“WHAT BEGINS TO EMERGE IS A PICTURE OF AN UNUSUALLY BRUTAL AND ATTRITIONAL BATTLE FOR THE AGE”

Forrest’s exploration of the wider cultural impact and legacy of Waterloo is the main focus and is as captivating as his examination of the build up and day itself. He explains how the battle came to be the launchpad for Britain’s global reputation through the

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