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Review for Waterloo. The Campaign of 1815, Volume 2

Author : John Hussey

The discerning malt drinker respects the distiller’s craft and savours the whiskey for at least a second for each year it was matured. Having read the first thirty chapters of this book, in volume one, I rationed myself to one chapter a day so that I could prolong the enjoyment. This volume, containing chapters 31 to 54 is just as good as volume one. [see review elsewhere on this site] The pace and the style of the writing match the nature of the events being described and carry the reader along with it. The immense scholarship is just as much in evidence but not stuffily presented but woven into an easily readable narrative.
Hussey shows respect for the reader in instances of uncertainty – here’s the evidence, -this is what I think, -others differ, -you make up your own mind. He draws out the details which create the big picture. For example, he names Prussian Horse Battery Nr14, which was retreating easterly after Ligny because it was lost, as being the key to the French high command sending Grouchy’s force away from Wavre. Illustrating in passing how the outcome of the big event is determined by the outcomes of many small happenings. The author helps the reader to see that if anything was different then maybe everything else would be different. Although he does not indulge in it himself he shows how this often leads to the fun game of ‘what ifs’.
Physically this volume is similar to volume one at 50mms thick with a total of 582 pages, a few good illustrations, and sufficient detailed maps. The notes and appendices fill out what is already an extensive text.
In summary I cannot over state how much I enjoyed this book. What other authors have brought into a spotlight Hussey has brought into the sunlight. Not only do we see an event illuminated we also see the context by which and in which it has relevance.
If you want to understand Waterloo you have got to read this book.

Published by : Greenhill Books, 2017
ISBN : 978-1-78438-200-1

Review last updated : 2018-02-26 20:37:02

See also : other "Napoleonic Wars" reviews