From Samuel Johnson Prize shortlisted author David Crane, this audiobook is about the Britain that fought the battle of Waterloo - from pauper to painter, poet to prince, soldier to civilian.
Midnight, Sunday, 17 June 1815. There was no town in England that had not sent its soldiers, hardly a household that was not holding its breath, not a family, as Byron put it, that would escape ‘havoc’s tender mercies’ at Waterloo, and yet at the same time life inevitably went on as normal.
As Wellington’s rain-sodden army retreated for the final, decisive battle, men and women in England were still going to the theatre and science lectures, still working in the fields and the factories, still reading and writing books and sermons, still painting their pictures and sitting in front of Lord Elgin’s marbles as if almost 5,000 did not already lie dead.
After 10 hours of savage fighting, Waterloo would be littered with the bodies of something like 47,000 dead and wounded. Meanwhile, as the day unfolded, a whole nation, countryside and town, artisan and aristocrat, was brought together by war.
From Samuel Johnson Prize shortlisted author David Crane, Went the Day Well? is a breathtaking portrait of Britain in those moments. Moving from England to the battle and back again, this vivid, stunning freeze frame of a country on the single most celebrated day in its modern history shows Crane’s full range in tracing the endless, overlapping connections between people’s lives.
From private tragedies, disappointed political hopes, and public discontents to grandiloquent public celebrations and monuments, it answers Wellington’s call as he rallied his troops to ‘think what England is thinking of us now’.
David Crane's first book, Lord Byron's Jackal, was published to great acclaim in 1998, and his second, The Kindness of Sisters, published in 2002, is a groundbreaking work of romantic biography. In 2005 the highly acclaimed Scott of the Antarctic was published, followed by Men of War, a collection of 19th-century naval biographies, in 2009.
This books looks at 24 hours on the 18th June 1815 and the aftermath of that battle from the British side. You see the human side of the battle and non-combattants. It looks at Britain and what was going on around this period but also includes Botany Bay (Australia) although the convicts where sent to Sydney Cove by this time, that isn't important. I was expecting a history of the battle but got a lot more. I was able to see the dreadful carnage, the overall wave of history wiping out peoples lives and that that day wasn't just a battlefield in Belgium. A good book to round out your studies on The Battle of Waterloo.
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