A detailed history of the Waterloo campaign, first published in 1900, which combines a succinct and complete narrative of events, with a careful running commentary. The author, takes us through the campaign step by step beginning with a portrait of France under the unpopular Bourbon monarchy; Napoleon’s triumphant return from exile in Elba; his raising an army and the panic-stricken response of the Allies to the renewed Bonapartist threat. Morris takes us carefully through the military developments after Napoleon crosses the Belgian border in a bid to defeat the Prussians and the Anglo-Dutch forces under Wellington piecemeal, resulting in the twin battles of Ligny (against Blucher) and Quatre Bras. There then follows the climactic titanic struggle at Waterloo itself when the French flung themselves against the defensive position chosen by Wellington south of Brussels, only to be met by solid British squares. The furious struggle for possession of the forward posts of Hougemont, La Haye Sainte and the Belle Alliance are well described, as is the role of the artillery and cavalry. The Allied triumph is assured by the arrival of the Prussians in the nick of time to make the final victory over Napoleon complete.
William O’Connor Morris
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2016 N & M Press reprint (original pub 1900) SB xxiii + 420 pp