Academic journal article Military Review

Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle That Saved Europe

Academic journal article Military Review

Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle That Saved Europe

Article excerpt

WATERLOO: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle that Saved Europe

Gordon Corrigan, Pegasus Books, New York, 2014, 368 pages

There is no shortage of materiel on the battle of Waterloo, one of the most extensively studied battles in history. With 2015 marking the battle's bicentennial, the market is flooded with a collection of new works. In Waterloo: Wellington, Napoleon, and the Battle That Saved Europe, Gordon Corrigan makes his contribution to this collection. Regrettably, his book contributes nothing particularly new to understanding the battle. It is a general history, not a well-documented scholarly work useful for further research. Corrigan recognizes the challenge of producing another work on Waterloo. In his introduction, he answers the question of why another book on Waterloo by asserting that the participants "continue to fascinate" and, despite a multitude of research, the interpretations of the battle "vary widely" More importantly, he attempts to demonstrate Waterloo's importance in establishing Britain as a dominant world power.

Corrigan blends a thematic and chronological approach to telling the story of Waterloo. He opens his work with a concise chronological summary of the major events of the Napoleonic Wars leading to the Waterloo Campaign, and then he transitions to a thematic approach discussing the commanders, officers, and soldiers of the major belligerents. He concludes with an account of the battle, which provides a clear narrative of the major activities of all three armies. The highlights of this work include the author's comprehensive discussion of the purchasing system of the British army, his soldier's eye for the influence of the terrain on the battle, and his effective analysis of the influence Wellesley's service in India had on his development. …

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