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The Battle: A New History of Waterloo

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  278 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
A vivid human and military history of the legendary battle

At Waterloo, some 70,000 men under Napoleon and an equal number under Wellington faced one another in a titanic and bloody struggle. In the end, as John Keegan notes, contemporaries felt that Napoleon's defeat had "reversed the tide of European history." Even 190 years later, the name Waterloo resounds.

Italian his
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published July 20th 2005 by Walker Books (first published 2003)
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Tyler Lees
Apr 08, 2011 Tyler Lees rated it really liked it
A recent history of the Battle of Waterloo, it is very well-written. I have the hard-bound copy, with its vital maps, but Barbero does an excellent job of keeping you oriented with what is happening where on the battlefield.

Most importantly, Barbero gives you an appreciation for what it was like as a soldier on the battlefield, while showing the relative strengths and weaknesses of each sides' infantry, cavalry, and artillery.

What really comes across is how the battle degenerated into a simple s
This is an excellent and nicely detailed telling of the battle of Waterloo. Just about everyone has heard of Waterloo, and most know it was a victory for 'good' guys and a defeat for Napoleon. Many probably assume it was a fairly comfortable victory, but what this book does is to show just how perilously close to defeat Wellington came in this battle. In fact, if it wasn't for the timely intervention of the Prussians, it's unlikely Wellington would have won.

The author also does a good job showin
Feb 16, 2016 Sindre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picking up during the aftermath of Quatre Bras, the book chronicles the entire battle, blow for blow, hour by hour. It deals with both sides equally; the commanders, the orders of battle, backgrounds of each side's forces with regards to training, doctrine, experience, weather conditions, everything. Extremely thorough, this book it leaves nothing unanswered.

As such, for a detail freak like myself, it is an astonishingly fun read! Eyewitness accounts, personal diaries, official reports and comm
Cristina Contilli
E' un libro che ho letto un po' velocemente, perché mi serviva per scrivere una scena di un mio romanzo... poi alla fine quella scena nella versione definitiva l'ho anche tagliata... comunque il libro è interessante:

Scappato dall’isola di Elba e tornato a Parigi, Napoleone riorganizza l’esercito e affronta il 18 giugno del 1815 una coalizione di inglesi, austriaci e prussiani nella località belga di Waterloo.

La battaglia, iniziata alle 11.00 del mattino, si conclude nel tardo pomeriggio, con l
Nov 03, 2012 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, I'd give it 6 stars for readability but only 3 for how it covers the battle itself. Most of the fight is presented from the English point of view (even if Wellington's army was mostly German, Dutch and Belgian units) and, like so many modern historians, Barbero insists on the need to show a worm's eye. In other words, there are too many quotes from letters and memoirs, whom even the author has called unreliable. A lot more strategic and tactical analysis would have given this book greater ...more
William Gerke
Note: Kindle edition lacks the detailed maps important to this analysis of the battle. Recommend you buy another edition.

That aside, an excellent, extremely detailed book on Waterloo. The only book I've read, so I can't guarantee accuracy, but it is thoroughly researched and its use of primary sources (letters and recollections of the combatants) is impressive. Provides insight into the very gritty world of Napoleanic combat--looting bodies (including your own people), how long it takes to die,
Oct 19, 2013 Greg rated it really liked it
If you read enough about Waterloo, you see a lot of the same quotes from the same accounts. The Battle is no exception. However it manages to add a few I hadn't seen, and reassembles the rest into a very lucid account, which reads very differently than the ones with which I grew up. It is clearly influenced by John Keegan's The Face of Battle, both in content and the interpretation. It is less Anglocentric than 19th and early to late-mid 20th accounts, giving far more credit to the Prussians tha ...more
May 17, 2013 Philip rated it liked it
Promised a lot, but invariably there is very little 'new' here.

I was hoping for more discussion/argument on some of the established facts here. However the book merely describes the action, using various quotes (and misquotes?)from participants.

Oh sure, there are a few anecdotes in here that I hadn't heard before, and the Belgians and Dutch get a look in, as do the Prussians but it's basically a rejig of David Howarth's classic book I read as a boy.

There ARE a few new things here. For example, t
Sep 28, 2010 Bethan rated it really liked it
I have never enjoyed a history book which was about just one battle, one event in time, a few days. This book is the exception to the rule.

However difficult it is to jump in halfway through Napoleon's, the Duke,s and the thousands of other men's lives. Without introduction, Barbero manages it. This is a detailed account of a very important event, it's exciting, not bogged down in facts, and makes you feel like you're really there all those years ago, looking down from Hougoumont, or watching the
Andrew Herbert
Feb 02, 2013 Andrew Herbert rated it it was amazing
I'll just add to what the other reviews indicate. This is a great book on the battle of Waterloo. As the title states, it covers little else! Just the battle, told practically minute by minute, with stories from all sides. The text is very well written and translated. A bit dry at times, but for the most part very engaging. I've read other histories (like Hibbert's and lots of others from the mostly British point of view), and it ws great to learn a lot more about the Allied forces and the Frenc ...more
Sara Willard
May 01, 2008 Sara Willard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This is probably one of the few books which looks at the Battle of Waterloo - about one of the most important occurences in British and European history - from a more impartial position. Also the author writes about the all different armies involved, not just Wellington & Napoleon and that Blucher chappie. It is written in a very accessible style, a real page turner. Recommended reading before you visit the Battlefield! I was fortunate to go to the Battlefield in April 2008 and this book bri ...more
Jul 01, 2013 Olethros rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
-Enésimo libro sobre el tema pero definitivamente con voz propia.-

Género. Ensayo.

Lo que nos cuenta. Ensayo novelado, casi periodístico, que tras un prólogo en la Costa Azul nos lleva a la noche del 17 de junio de 1815 en territorio belga, después de Quatre Bras y Ligny, e interpreta los pensamientos, reflexiones, intenciones y dudas de Napoleón, Wellington y otros protagonistas menos famosos para mostrarnos una interpretación de lo qué sucedió en el campo de batalla de Waterloo.

¿Quiere saber má
Jul 01, 2013 Olethros rated it really liked it
-Enésimo libro sobre el tema pero definitivamente con voz propia.-

Género. Ensayo.

Lo que nos cuenta. Ensayo novelado, casi periodístico, que tras un prólogo en la Costa Azul nos lleva a la noche del 17 de junio de 1815 en territorio belga, después de Quatre Bras y Ligny, e interpreta los pensamientos, reflexiones, intenciones y dudas de Napoleón, Wellington y otros protagonistas menos famosos para mostrarnos una interpretación de lo qué sucedió en el campo de batalla de Waterloo.

¿Quiere saber má
Sean Chick
May 23, 2015 Sean Chick rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful account of the battle, fair to each side. It is also balanced: Barbero discusses doctrine, tactics, soldier experiences, command decisions, and without confusing the reader. His work is also a corrective to the idea, somewhat reinforced by Wellington in later years, that the battle was not all that close. Barbero identifies two points where the French almost won, with Uxebridge's cavalry charge being possibly the decisive stroke that saved Wellinton. Well that and the Prussia ...more
Joshua Horn
Mar 14, 2015 Joshua Horn rated it liked it
This history of the Battle of Waterloo gets off to a slow start, with a disjointed flow and too little context of the campaign that brought the armies together. But once Barbero begins to cover the battle itself, it greatly improves. I particularly enjoyed the first hand accounts, of which there could have been more, and his balance between the perspectives of the officers and the normal soldiers. One major failing was a lack of maps. There was only one map of the battle, and it's scale was too ...more
This account of the 18th of June, 1815, is less of a straight military history and more of an attempt to recreate the experience of combat at Waterloo that day. Barbero is very successful in this but, if I could, I would only give it 3.5 stars as the most powerful recreation of Waterloo remains, for me, Waterloo: A Near Run Thing, David Howarth's classic book.
Jan 28, 2015 Owen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: napoleonic
A thoroughly enjoyable experience, Barbero guides his readers through the upheavals of this monumental battle with prose that is light and engaging. Describing the armies of each nation, involved equally and fairly whether British, French, Prussian or Netherlander, each is given the same recognition and praise that they deserve. I would certainly recommend it to someone with a newly discovered interest in Waterloo and the Napoleonic wars.
Nick Giannaras
Feb 04, 2014 Nick Giannaras rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
One of the best books on the subject I have ever read. He was able to describe the entire battle with eyewitness accounts that made me feel I just toured the battlefield as an invisible observer. I knew the battle was complete carnage, but Barbero shed a new and bloody light on this epic fight. Highly recommend it.
Jan 17, 2012 Nathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heads will be cut off, legs blown away, and the ground strewn with mud and blood in this one. From the narrative it is a wonder that anyone survived the thing. A quick narrative that is a little too focussed on the British (as is usually the case). Rated M for strong war violence, blood and gore. 3/5
Jun 15, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing
This book is fantastic. Very readable and enjoyable. Less pleasant and exciting to read than Howarth's "Near Run Thing", but doubtless much more accurate and certainly more scholarly. I enormously enjoyed this book and will likely read it again in the future.
Zachary Wagoner
A fascinating read. My first time reading anything on the battle or the Napoleonic wars in general. Easy to read, with plenty of first hand accounts. This book is just the first of many that I wish to have on the battle of waterloo and the Napoleonic wars.
Danilo Benedetti
Nov 25, 2013 Danilo Benedetti rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
The greatest history book I've read so far, full stop. It not only depicts in detail the battle of Waterloo, but in doing that the Author manages to at the same time, entertain the reader and explain how war "worked" at the time of Napoleon.
Oct 30, 2008 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad book, it factually covers the course of the battle in a fairly enjoyable, easy to read way, but there's nothing I found in it that was particularly ground-breaking or exceptional to justify calling it a "new" history of Waterloo.
Nick Harriss
Mar 11, 2013 Nick Harriss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book about the Battle of Waterloo and the surrounding events that shaped 19th century Europe. Full of detail that brings the events into vivid realism. It also brings home how close the battle was and how different things might have been.
Oct 11, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A very intelligent account of the battle of Waterloo. Well organized, well written, a good translation into English. Well worth the read.
Tom Mcnabola
Aug 26, 2016 Tom Mcnabola rated it really liked it
There are occasional blips in the translation (at least in my estimation). However, the tale of the battle, the participants and the precarious moments for Wellington and his allies is well told.
Dec 16, 2014 Voss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Come sempre in Barbero il rigore documentale si mescola con la passione narrativa.
Ci sono le persone il sangue il sudore il frastuono la paura ...
Nigel Seed
Dec 17, 2014 Nigel Seed rated it it was amazing
This is probably the best description of the battle of Waterloo available today. It is well researched and well written. Descriptions make this confusing day understandable. I really recommend it.
Siegfried Gony
Aug 05, 2011 Siegfried Gony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un livre fascinant.Le minutage en est rythmé par les batteries de canons,l'avancée des lignes et les charges de cavalerie.
Scott Adddington
Dec 26, 2015 Scott Adddington rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully written history of the Battle of Waterloo. Unlike most history books, this is very readable and enjoyable. A brilliant book.
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Si laurea in lettere nel 1981 con una tesi in storia medievale all'Università di Torino. Successivamente perfeziona i suoi studi alla Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa e nel 1984 vince il concorso per un posto di ricercatore in Storia Medievale all'Università degli studi di Roma "Tor Vergata".
Nel 1996 vince il Premio Strega con il romanzo "Bella vita e guerre altrui di Mr. Pyle, gentiluomo".
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“partial contrast to these images of disintegration stands the fact that most of the French combat units managed to maintain a modicum of cohesion and reach safety more or less intact. During the entire pursuit, the Prussians failed to capture even one Eagle, a sign that, at least as far as its regimental standards were concerned, Napoleon’s army did not in fact disintegrate. Moreover, the French brought along on their retreat a large number of Allied prisoners, who were not set free until many days or even weeks later. One of them, Lieutenant Wheatley, had” 0 likes
“The morning after the battle, Kincaid came across an acquaintance and asked what had gone on with him and his unit the previous day. The man replied, “I’ll be hanged if I know anything at all about the matter, for I was all day trodden in the mud and galloped over by every scoundrel who had a horse.” He had no other story to tell. Macready,” 0 likes
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