Walking Waterloo (Paperback)
Charles Esdaile’s new guide to the Battle of Waterloo presents the experience of the soldiers who took part in the battle in the most graphic and direct way possible – through their own words. In a series of walks he describes in vivid detail what happened in each location on 18 June 1815 and he quotes at length from eyewitness accounts of the men who were there.
Each phase of the action during that momentous day is covered, from the initial French attacks and the intense fighting at Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte to the charges of the French cavalry against the British squares and the final, doomed attack of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard.
This innovative guide to this historic site is fully illustrated with a selection of archive images from the War Heritage Institute in Brussels, modern colour photographs of the battlefield as it appears today and specially commissioned maps which allow the visitor to follow the course of the battle on the ground.
Walking Waterloo is exceptional, being far more than a simple guide to a well-known battle and a well-trodden field. Esdaile has not allowed his judgement to be clouded by a deep knowledge of the battle and its commonly held myth, and has instead approached the battlefield with a fresh pair of eyes, taking the time to examine the terrain carefully, and consider whether the oft-repeated stories about the battle are actually realistic, when one stands on the landscape itself. This book is therefore able to offer an insightful and highly persuasive re-evaluation of commonly held beliefs about the battle, notably, amongst other things, questioning the importance of Hougoumont as the ‘key’ to the allied position, and questioning how it is possible for the collapse of the imperial guard to have shattered the morale of the entire French army, when a ridge of high ground makes it impossible to see from one half of the field to the other. The advantage of presenting this information in a battlefield guide is, of course, that the visitor only needs to look up from the book to see the evidence first hand for themselves. This is therefore a book which is as important for researchers as it is for those who have a general interest in the period.Zack White, Freelance
In Walking Waterloo Charles Esdaile has not only created an essential addition to the suitcase of any visitor to Waterloo, but has also achieved the historian’s ‘Holy Grail’. This is a book of huge significance for historians, but which will also engage and inspire any member of the public to know more about this crucial battle, whilst not only informing them about discussion at the cutting edge of historical debate, but also physically involving them in that process, and inviting them to investigate his conclusions for themselves. This is undoubtedly one of the most important books on Waterloo to have been written in the last 200 years.
As featured inThe Bookseller Buyers Guide
As featured 'ON THE BOOKSHELF'Wargames Illustrated, February 2019