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Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815 (Hardback)

Volume I: From Elba to Ligny and Quatre Bras

Napoleonic All Greenhill Books Greenhill: Napoleonic Battle of Waterloo

By John Hussey, Foreword by Hew Strachan
Greenhill Books
Pages: 712
ISBN: 9781784381967
Published: 18th April 2017

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£35.00


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  • Military History Monthly's September 2017 BOOK OF THE MONTH!
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The first of two ground-breaking volumes on the Waterloo campaign, this book is based upon a detailed analysis of sources old and new in four languages. It highlights the political stresses between the Allies, and their resolution; it studies the problems of feeding and paying for 250,000 Allied forces assembling in Belgium during the ‘undeclared war’, and how a strategy was thrashed out.

It studies the neglected topic of how the slow and discordant Allies beyond the Rhine hampered the plans of Blücher and Wellington, thus allowing Napoleon to snatch the initiative from them. Napoleon’s operational plan is analysed (and Soult's mistakes in executing it). Accounts from both sides help provide a vivid impression of the fighting on the first day, 15 June, and the volume ends with the joint battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras the next day.

If you are looking for a one volume history of Napoleon's escape from Elba to the twin battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny, this is it. I cannot wait for the release of Volume II, and the author's telling of the battles of Waterloo and Wavre.

Read the complete review here.

A Wargamers Needful things

I am not sure who was more cowed by the arrival of Hussey's first volume on the Waterloo campaign, the postman who carried it or me - for it is a formidable piece of work! Yet its size belies a highly authoritative, carefully planned, and absorbing book, which reflects John Hussey's fascination with the politics, strategy, and tactics of this turning-point of world history, I strongly recommend it.

Military History Monthly, September 2017 - reviewed by Patrick Mercer & Edited by Dr Keith Robinson

Overall a splendid work of research, which no student of the Waterloo campaign should be without.

Stuart Asquith, Author

I can assure you that it is a magnificent work - finally we will have a work which updates and fully eclipses Siborne's history of the Waterloo campaign’

Gareth Glover on The Napoleon Series

My first reaction was "oh great. . . not another book on Waterloo". But I agreed and as soon as I started reading it, I was hooked. It is not your typical Waterloo book. Although it covers the main topics I have come to expect in any volume on Waterloo, its main focus is not at the tactical or grand tactical level. Insted it examines in great detail many issues that are glossed over by most books. Mr Hussey tells the strategic side of the events of 1815 from the perspective of the national governments and their army commanders. It is packed with information on the problems the allies faced with coalition warfare and coordinating national objectives, as well as the issues both the allies and the French faced, such as national politics, logistics, intelligence, and communications.

Read the full feature here.

Napoleon Series

John Hussey’s magnum opus on the Waterloo campaign is a magisterial work which is unlikely ever to be beaten for detail and objectivity. This book which is only the first volume and takes us up to the eve of the battle goes comprehensively and thoroughly into the minds of the commanders and staff through contemporary source documents. In this way readers are able to judge for themselves regarding many of the controversies. The book is beautifully written, well mapped, and it will be the authoritative book on Waterloo for all time.

Major-General Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, KCVO, Chairman ‘Waterloo 200’

‘Volume I of Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815 is a brilliant tour de force, not least for its comprehensive coverage of matters that so many histories of warfare either ignore or skate over. Key facts, all of which impinge on command and control of an army or formation, need to be understood if one is really to comprehend what commanders had to cope with. I suspect they are simply not factored in by the vast majority of commentators and historians.’

Major-General Julian Thompson, CB, OBE

‘This new study of the 1815 campaign presents a fresh and meticulously researched account of one of the most climactic battles in history. Its breadth of scope is comprehensive, importantly including the political perspective and how it impacted upon the military operations. Its sources are exhaustive and the mastery of its analysis compelling. It forms an essential guide to all aspects of the final campaign of two of the nineteenth century’s greatest commanders, Napoleon and Wellington.’

Philip Haythornthwaite, author of Waterloo Armies and The Napoleonic Source Book

‘This is not your typical Waterloo book, which only covers the tactical aspects of the campaign. Instead, Mr Hussey tells the strategic side of the events of 1815 from the perspective of the national governments and their army commanders. It is packed with details of the problems the allies faced with coalition warfare and coordinating national objectives, as well as the issues both the allies and the French faced, such as national politics, logistics, intelligence, and communications. This book is a gem. Every chapter is filled with new information I have not seen before. It is a must-read for those who are interested in the tumultuous events of 1815.’

Robert Burnham, editor-in-chief, The Napoleon Series

‘. . . beautifully written and exhaustively researched . . . John Hussey’s book will hold the field for a very long time.’

Professor Sir Hew Strachan

No-one knows more about the Waterloo Campaign than John Hussey, and this extraordinary book is the culmination of his life’s work in Napoleonic War studies. He is able to deal with the big geo-strategic overview of the Hundred Days but also the arcane and intricate issues such as the d’Erlon Fiasco with equally masterly comprehensiveness. It will be decades before this book is superseded as the best account of those extraordinary events of 1815.

Professor Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon the Great
 John Hussey

About John Hussey

After reading History at Cambridge John Hussey spent 30 years working for BP around the world including the Congo in the 1960s and Nigeria in the 1970s. He was awarded an OBE in 1971. He has written many articles on British military history, mainly on the Napoleonic and First World Wars, and served as a member of the International Historical Committee for the restoration of the Waterloo Battlefield. He is the author of MALBOROUGH: HERO OF BLENHEIM (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2004) and is a Fellow of the Royal Historial Society. Hew Strachan is Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews and was formerly the Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford.


Perfect Partner

Marshal Ney At Quatre Bras New Perspectives on the Opening Battle of the Waterloo Campaign (Hardback)

Fought on 16 June 1815, two days before the Battle of Waterloo, the Battle of Quatre Bras has been described as a tactical Anglo-allied victory, but a French strategic victory. The French Marshal Ney was given command of the left wing of Napoleon’s army and ordered to seize the vital crossroads at Quatre Bras, as the prelude to an advance on Brussels. The crossroads was of strategic importance because the side which controlled it could move south-eastward along the Nivelles-Namur road. Yet the normally bold and dynamic Ney was uncharacteristically cautious. As a result, by the time he mounted…

By Paul L. Dawson

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