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Publisher's Summary

The bloodbath at Waterloo ended a war that had engulfed the world for over 20 years. It also finished the career of the charismatic Napoleon Bonaparte. It ensured the final liberation of Germany and the restoration of the old European monarchies, and it represented one of very few defeats for the glorious French army, most of whose soldiers remained devoted to their Emperor until the very end.

Extraordinary though it may seem, much about the Battle of Waterloo has remained uncertain, with many major features of the campaign hotly debated. Most histories have depended heavily on the evidence of British officers that were gathered about 20 years after the battle. But the recent publication of an abundance of fresh firsthand accounts from soldiers of all the participating armies has illuminated important episodes and enabled radical reappraisal of the course of the campaign. What emerges is a darker, muddier story, no longer biased by notions of regimental honour, but a tapestry of irony, accident, courage, horror, and human frailty.

An epic pause resister, rich in dramatic human detail and grounded in first-class scholarly research, Waterloo is the real inside story of the greatest land battle in British history, the defining showdown of the age of muskets, bayonets, cavalry, and cannon.

©2014 Tim Clayton (P)2014 Audible Studios

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  • Alexander Patterson
  • 07-25-15

Maps & diagrams needed to get the real effect

What did you like best about Waterloo? What did you like least?

This book is a detailed and well researched history of the battle of Waterloo. It gives good pen pictures of the various combatants covering the average soldiers as well as the generals, the Duke and the Emperor. However I found it very difficult to follow the sweeps across the battlefield and the way the different parts of the battle linked together without some maps or diagrams.

The descriptions of the fighting and the reasoning behind the various actions was well thought out even if at times it seemed to be about what Napoleon should have done to win.

The narrative around individual parts of the battle was compelling and managed to make me feel involved in the action without resorting to colourful or histrionic language. This is a sure sign of something well written.

This seems particularly moving when describing the way the infantry formed squares against cavalry to find themselves easy targets for artillery. Some of the descriptions were quite harrowing for their matter of factness as much as anything.

Overall I enjoyed the book and feel I know a lot more about the events two hundred years ago. I just wish I could have placed the distances between Hougomont and main front line or the distance covered by Bülow.

What did you like best about this story?

The book draw the writing and memoirs of ordinary soldiers as well as the official histories. This adds a lot of social context to the story and puts the struggle into a world context.

Have you listened to any of Phillip Franks’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Not listened to any others as far as I know

Do you think Waterloo needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Initially, I could not think of anything else to be said about the battle and I think other competing versions rather than a follow up would be interesting to hear.

However, the final part of the book talks about the society that the victors came back to and the way they were treated. In this there were echoes of the end of the first and second world wars and the disillusionment of the returning army. It would be interesting to find out if Tim Clayton could do as good a job expanding on that area.

Any additional comments?

I would have thought it was possible for Amazon to produce an extension for the Audible reader that allowed it to download and display some sort of diagrams. For this sort of book even a small movable map would be invaluable.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Michel
  • 12-03-14

The best account of the Waterloo campaign.....ever

This is the best researched, most engaging historical account of the Battle of Waterloo, I have found. Pacey, witty and full of interesting facts, often overlooked by other historians. It is very well read. It is a pity that Audible could not arrange for a map to be downloaded with this item, as one will be needed to appreciate the full enormity of what was involved in this truly great battle.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-20-15

Waterloo by Tim Clayton review by MParkinson

Would you try another book written by Tim Clayton or narrated by Phillip Franks?

I enjoyed the authors work and the narration was excellent the range of accents highlighted the story of the battle giving it a great depth.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

The most intersting and fascinating aspect of this book was the very detailed accounts of what it was like to be there, to fight,to be wounded and to witness such terrible suffering.The descriptive accounts of the landscape and the death and destruction was very well accomplished.I think the detail of the individual experience was excellent however the larger events seemed to be distant events but perhaps thats how it felt to be there?.One aspect that was challenging was grasping who and which army's troops were being discussed. When referring to the 19th Lancers for example I was never sure if they were British ,Prussian or French.This was remedied by printing out an order of battle so I could see the dispossition of the troops ,I would recommend anyone doing this for any account of a battle .

Which character – as performed by Phillip Franks – was your favourite?

I think there are too many excellent character performances to single out one but I did enjoy Phillip's delivery of the Duke of Wellingtons key quotations, these are to revel in.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Well yes I would go see it if it were a film but is that a recommendation for an audio book and indeed a book?Audiobook performances are often singled out for Grammys so cleary the genre stands on it's own.Anyway the already made a movie not based on this book but,on the battle, which I watched and it also helps understand the organisation of the armies on the field of battle.

Any additional comments?

I have read many historical accounts of war and battles and I dont think only one can give a true perspective However Mr Claytons book conveys the essence of what it was like to be there as a French soldier or a British Hussar and that is a very remarkable achievement.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • dave
  • 09-04-16

Fantastic

The details of events the sequence of the action is outstanding. You're never presented with what if's but the real time options that were available to the protagonists. This way your not left with "if only"

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 12-05-14

Good & very detailed

What did you like best about Waterloo? What did you like least?

The ini depth nature of the book

Would you be willing to try another book from Tim Clayton? Why or why not?

Yes, the man knows what his subject matter is. The research that must have gone into this book would have been enormous.

What does Phillip Franks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Clarity, wonderful reading voice, very easy listening

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Yes

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • L
  • 10-31-17

Probably better as a physical book

An epic story. But so detailed, it's hard to remember who's who and to visualise the geography.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Mickey G
  • 04-03-16

The best book I have read on the battle

Would you listen to Waterloo again? Why?

Yes, this is an excellent study of the battle and the period before. The aftermath is a little sketchy but there is plenty of material to cover that. You start to see where the 1970's film got detail wrong, but that is why one reads books like this.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The British officers are amazing characters. This may be due to the author but the other nationalities don't seem to have the humanising effect of his pen. After reading Bernard Cornwells Sharpe's series of novels you get the idea that only Richard Sharpe could save the day, but this book covers the whole army to the best of what could be collected. This book helps suggest the reasons why and clears up matters of effects and possible folklore.

What does Phillip Franks bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

He is consistent throughout and even his Scottish accents are passible.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would love to listen to this book in one sitting and regret I didn't listen to it in June 2015 on the plane to Belgium. At 20 odd hours, not recommended to listen in one go.

Any additional comments?

If you are a student of this battle, listen to this book. It is a must.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Russell Tomlinson
  • 07-18-15

Superb

I have been fascinated about Waterloo since the early 1970's when as a child I got hold of a copy of Rene North's Regiment's at Waterloo.Since then I was hooked on this campaign and have acquired and read many books on the subject....the good,the bad and the ugly.
Tim Clayton has presented a superbly detailed account of the campaign with a critical analysis of the key decisions.He also gives a very balanced account of all the nationalities involved.Clayton also dispels many of the myths and presents the latest research.He also covers areas which are usually ignored in other histories such as what was going on in the rear of the French army on the 18th June.A picture is presented that the battle was an extremely close run thing indeed.
Phillip Franks does a great job of narration and is easy upon the ear.A superb experience overall.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • White Socks!
  • 02-18-18

Too much detail to keep abreast of

This is an amazingly detailed book. Clayton does a tremendous job putting you in the thick of it, with Franks' narration beautifully accompanying.

But the highly intricate, and dynamic fluidity was extremely difficult to keep pace with. I didn't follow a lot of the time, to my regret.

Nevertheless, what a stunning tour de force.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-19-18

Amazing book, missing certain features.

Good narration, but doesn't translate French quotes to English - Missing like maps, naturally, which is quite annoying as I'd like to know the English versions of the quotes. The rest, the stories, accounts and details are all unbeleivably well researched. Best book about Waterloo I've ever heard.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-05-17

give this a crack

loved it. Great first account of history's most formative battles. thoroughly interesting and thereby enjoyable.

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  • Attila
  • 03-10-17

A very good historical and fair account

Sometimes a little dry. The author however adds enough personal details of the combatants and civilians experiences before, during, and after the battle to keep it interesting. Not exactly Ken Burns Civil War but very close.

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  • Aaron
  • 05-01-15

Stunning!

This book has it all. A fabulously engaging narration and depth of information. Highly recommend.