Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Gamble (Making History)

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9780007190751: Waterloo: Napoleon's Last Gamble (Making History)

The illustrious Making History Series, edited by Lisa Jardine and Amanda Foreman, explores an eclectic mix of history's tipping points. Here, the most eminent of guest writers have been invited to present a subject closest to their heart, presenting the grand theatre of the past in a collection of inventive and provocative essays. The series awakens fresh interest in subjects long before us – the decline of Aztec Empire, Waterloo, Nuremberg – as well as uncovering the seemingly quiet moments of chance which turned subsequent events on their head.

In Waterloo, Roberts provides not only a fizzing account of one of the most significant 48 hour periods of all time, but also a startling revaluation on the methodology of history – is it possible to create an accurate picture from a single standpoint? What we can say for certain about the battle is that it ended forever the one of the great personal world-historical epics. The career of Napoleon was brought to a shuddering halt on the evening of 18th June 1815. Interwoven in the clear-cut narrative are exciting revelations brought to light by recent research: accident rather than design led to the crucial cavalry debacle that lost the battle. Amongst the all-too-human explanation for the blunder that cost Napoleon his throne, Roberts sets the political, strategic and historical scene, and finally shows why Waterloo was such an important historical punctuation mark.
The generation after Waterloo saw the birth of the modern era: ghastly as the carnage here was, henceforth the wars of the future were fought with infinitely more ghastly methods of trenches, machine-guns, directed starvation, concentration camps, and aerial bombardment. By the time of the Great War, chivalry was utterly dead. The honour of bright uniform and tangible spirit of élan, espirit, éclat met their final dance at Waterloo.

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Review:

Praise for Salisbury: Victorian Titan (Winner of the 1999 Wolfson Prize for History):
'Although constructed on a massive scale, Roberts's book is so beautifully written that one would not wish it a page shorter. It is unlikely ever to be superseded.' Vernon Bogdanor, Times Higher Education Supplement

'Salisbury deserves, and has found, a fine biographer, who has left no stone unturned in his researches, has written cogently and well about his subject, and provided not just a history of Lord Salisbury, but one of the best histories yet of Victorian Britain and her place in the world.' Simon Heffer, Daily Mail

‘a pacy and well-argued account that puts many of its predecessors to shame…a masterly synthesis of the latest scholarship’ Sunday Telegraph

Praise for Napoleon & Wellington:
'It is one of Andrew Roberts's merits that, as well as being intelligent, hard-working and opinionated, he gets great fun out of his writing. His books are consequently not only genuinely important but also a pleasure to read.' Philip Ziegler, Daily Telegraph

'Well written and well organised, his study of the relationship between the emperor and the Duke of Wellington is as entertaining as it is instructive, and is original and judicious both as military and personal history.' Christopher Hibbert, The Sunday Times

The Guardian:

"The battle remains one of the most extraordinary of all times...a useful summary"

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