Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won - Wellington
The Battle of Waterloo, fought over the course of a day on a muddy field in Belgium, brought an end to two decades of war in Europe. It had been a draining conflict, both financially and in terms of human life, and had threatened the very sovereignty of numerous nations. Here, at the crisis point, Bonaparte and Wellington faced each other at last and fought for control of the continent.
The tale of the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars has been told many times, but most often in terms of the political and military situation, debates over strategies, tactics and the broader global arena. In this book, the story is told by those who were present, in their own words. The accounts come from letters, diaries and published accounts, sometimes recounted many years later, the eyewitness testimonies of officers and ordinary soldiers, friend and foe. This gripping collection of first-hand experiences lets us feel the deafening roar of cannon, hear the anguished cries of the wounded and marvel at the heroism on both sides, at the very heart of a battle that was to prove one of the major turning points in European history.
Martyn Beardsley is a writer and historian. He has written thirty-five books, including Deadly Winter, the biography of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, and A Matter of Honour: The Story of England's Last Fatal Duel. He has conducted extensive research into the Napoleonic Wars. He lives in Nottingham.