Napoleon, France and Waterloo (ePub)
The Eagle Rejected
So great is the weight of reading on the subject of the Waterloo campaign that it might be thought there is nothing left to say about it, and from the military viewpoint, this is very much the case. But one critical aspect of the story has gone all but untold – the French home front. Little has been written about the topic in English, and few works on Napoleon or Revolutionary and Napoleonic France pay it much attention. It is this conspicuous gap in the literature that Charles Esdaile explores in this erudite and absorbing study.
Drawing on the vivid, revealing material that is available in the French archives, in the writings of soldiers who fought in France in 1814 and 1815 and in the memoirs of civilians who witnessed the fall of Napoleon or the Hundred Days, he gives us a fascinating new insight into the military and domestic context of the Waterloo campaign, the Napoleonic legend and the wider situation across Europe.
This book is excellent and a must read for anyone interested in Napoleonic history but also for thoseH-France Review Vol. 18
generally interested in the counterfactual genre. This book would be appropriate in upper-level and
Indeed,I echo the positive sentiments of fellow reviewer Steve Brown who described this book as “the most revealing work on the French ‘home front’” and “highly recommended.” I would add to such high
praise that this book is a real page turner and essential reading for any student of Napoleonic history.
As featured byVaeVictis, March-April 2017
In the opening pages of this book, Esdaile himself describes his contribution as forlorn, yet this is one area where he is undoubtedly mistaken. This engaging and cleverly written book will excite novices and experts alike, and there can be little doubt that this work is essential reading for anyone who studies the period. It is often said that, in history, today’s consensus is tomorrow’s controversy. Thanks to this bold study, the era of consensus on Napoleon is over. 200 years on, Napoleon’s supporters and opponents are about to do battle once again, albeit this time with a pen, rather than a sword. Only time will tell whether Napoleon will lose the peace in the same way that he lost the war.Zack White, Freelance