WATERLOO: Battle of Three Armies by Lord--Ed. Chalfont

WATERLOO: Battle of Three Armies

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Here's the latest on those bloody events of June 18, 1815: a sumptuous, gimmicky book that's not, however, without a legitimate appeal. As period illustrations keep pace, we follow the action hour by hour, switching back and forth among a team of three historians--one English, one French, one German--each of whom retells the well-known events of Waterloo from his own country's point of view. Lord Chalfont, the noted military analyst, manages to weave these three chauvinisms into a single panoramic tapestry, which yields fresh insights into this most famous of battles. British authority William Seymour asserts, for instance, that ""Napoleon was out-fought and out-generaled by Wellington""; the claim that ""the Prussians won the battle,"" he maintains, ""is not true."" But, contends German historian Eberhard Kaulbach, ""without the cooperation of the Prussian army, the [battle] would, in all probability, not have been accepted by Wellington, and could not have been won."" In addition to the three major sections (the French is by military writer Jacques Champagne), the study includes excerpts from two fictional accounts of Waterloo, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and Georgette Heyer's An Infamous Army. No substitute for David Howarth's elegant, less pedantic Waterloo: Day of Battle (1968)--which incorporates the common soldier's point of view--but a luxury item that's also a pleasure.

Pub Date: March 14th, 1980
Publisher: Knopf