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Waterloo: New Perspectives: The Great Battle Reappraised Paperback – February 8, 1996

31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471145714 ISBN-10: 0471145718 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Initially published in England, this first volume in a proposed trilogy concerning the last years of Napoleon I's reign is a meticulously detailed account of the Battle of Waterloo that sets right some of the errors and omissions of fact committed by earlier contemporary authors. These center on the roles played by Britain's allies in the campaign, such as the Dutch and Belgian troops, which have been largely ignored or downplayed since the 1840s. By using original narratives, both allied and French, the author, a British Napoleonic researcher, has produced an objective battle history revealing the crucial mistakes and successful actions of all participants. He also reveals the disharmony between the British and Prussian commanders and the duplicity of the British government with regards to the Bourbon restoration and its effects on Wellington's tactics. Recommended for specialized collections.
David Lee Poremba, Detroit P.L.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This stout, expensive volume on the Battle of Waterloo is not for the raw beginning student but for serious Napoleonic scholars. Revisionist in the best sense of the word, Napoleonic scholar Hamilton-Williams argues persuasively that William Siborne, considered the battle's definitive historian, allowed too many errors to creep into his account because of his financial dependence on his sources. To sort matters out, Hamilton-Williams proceeds to cover the entire campaign, from Napoleon's return from Elba to the French retreat afterward. He will raise some eyebrows, and he will not persuade many to throw out nearly two centuries of scholarship in one fell swoop. But he will also be acknowledged to have offered a superior account of the campaign--free of nationalist bias, thoroughly researched, and clearly written. Roland Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (February 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471145718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471145714
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,051,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Michael L Peirce on December 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having read everything I can on the Waterloo battle I still find this book to be absolutely essential. I've read the critics who fault the author on many levels but I must say that he answers several questions that literally no other author has thus far addressed.
1) Why did Picton die crying, "Rally the Highlanders?" Were not the British lines indestructable?
2) How did a few companies of British Guards hold Hougamont against most of a French corps? After all, didn't the German and Nassau troops flee in terror? (see Jac Weller et al)
3) Why did the French Army fall apart and flee for their lives when the Middle Guard was repulsed, yet most could not see farther than twenty feet on the smoke filled battle field? Could it have had something to do with Ziethen's advance, ignored even in the otherwise excellent 'Waterloo Companion'?
4) Did Napoleon really lie about Grouchy's arrival - or did the attack by the Prussians on the Nassau forces on Wellington's left make him think Grouchy truly had arrived?
Until at least one other author addresses these questions I submit that Hamilton Williams is the man to read. Not to mention the fact that his commentary reads like an adventure story and his account of the battle is quite simply the best so far written by anyone.
The attacks on H-W by Peter Hofshroyer should also be taken with a large grain of salt. I was shocked by that until I realized htat H-W stole a march on him by getting to print first with what was certainly the first English language account of the battle to give proper credit to the Dutch Belgians, Prussians and various Germans.
This book belongs in any serious military history collection and truly does offer a "new perspective".
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33 of 40 people found the following review helpful By D. C. Hamilton-williams on April 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
I am the author. I wish to answer the sustained attacks on my books over the last fifteen years by Micheal Le Vean et als. This man and his friends have spent years attacking my books and defaming me, they do so because I would not take part in and opposed their undemocratic coup d'etat to oust Robert Snibbe as president of the Napoleonic Society of America in 1994. Le Vean evens quotes the late Col. Elting to discredit me putting words into his mouth, which cannot now be disputed. Their friend and colleague Peter Hofshroer and his `partner' David Hollins also try to denigrate my work, in Hofshroer's case my book came out first and stole his thunder vis a vis the Prussians , Dutch-Belgian and Germans true role in the Campaign.I have been severely disabled for the last thirty years due to a spinal injury and now a severe heart and lung condition from being housebound and it's been too traumatic for me to counter their lies until now. I cannot, however, continue to accept this venomous spite from these persons without answering them as it's embarrassing to my family. Many people have faulted my sources, (quite rightly) and I have been too unwell to answer but I do so now.
I was approached by Arms and Armour press in 1991 on the recommendation of two historians that I had corresponded with for many years. I was commissioned to write a book about the fall of Napoleon and Waterloo. This I did. However, in 1993, seven weeks before my manuscript was due to be handed in, I had a panicked editor on my doorstep who said that he needed a book on Waterloo and to scrap "the politics"! Being a first time author I was coerced in to starting my manuscript again from scratch, either that or they said they would not publish it.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book precisely because it is one one of the few volumes still in print with anything close to full coverage of the Waterloo campaign, and with more or less the least amount of identity politics. Despite all the author's plugging of his own books-to-come and his claims, which are a good deal too much for the dust jacket and all, the book collapses on simply being a reasonably accurate accurate account of (mostly) the battles of Quatre-Bras and Waterloo (among the French, British, and Dutch/German/Belgian allies). There simply isn't anything terribly new or controversial in his book and I disagree with Peter Hofschroer's remark about its content being thrown in doubt, all other issues with him notwithstanding. The content is still too derivative, too close to previous works and experience (the Siborne, for example) for that to be the case.
The interested reader is challenged to find another volume with the same amount of coverage of the Battle of Quatre-Bras, for example. The author, it appears in parts of the book, does not attempt as much coverage of those areas with which were not evidently well researched (The Prussian contibution, perhaps thus some of Mr Hofschroer's vitriolics). The author does indeed venture to make make his opinions and interpretations, some of which the reader has to take with a grain of salt, but that is his authorial prerogative. We see that Mr Hofschroer clearly enjoys his privilege as well. The author's account is, overall and despite the criticism, surprisingly balanced. The writing is usually good and entertaining. Hamilton-Williams account is by no means a "fiction.
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