The 'Making History' series is launched with an exciting retelling of one of the moments that shook the world - Waterloo, one of the truly decisive battle of history.
The illustrious 'Making History' series, edited by Lisa Jardine and Amanda Foreman, explores an eclectic mix of history's tipping points. Here, the most eminent of guest writers have been invited to share a subject close to their heart, presenting the grand theatre of the past in a collection of inventive and provocative essays. The series awakens fresh interest in subjects long before our time - the decline of the Aztec Empire, Waterloo, Nuremberg - as well as uncovering the seemingly quiet moments of chance that turned subsequent events on their head.
In 'Waterloo', Roberts provides not only a fizzing account of one of the most significant 48-hour periods of all time, but also a startling revaluation on the methodology of history - is it possible to create an accurate picture from a single standpoint? What we can say for certain about the battle is that it ended forever one of the great personal world-historical epics. The career of Napoleon was brought to a shuddering halt on the evening of 18th June 1815. Interwoven in the clear-cut narrative are exciting revelations brought to light by recent research: accident rather than design led to the crucial cavalry debacle that lost the battle. Among the all-too-human explanation for the blunder that cost Napoleon his throne, Roberts sets the political, strategic and historical scene, and finally shows why Waterloo was such an important historical punctuation mark.
The generation after Waterloo saw the birth of the modern era: ghastly as the carnage here was, henceforth the wars of the future were fought with infinitely more ghastly methods of trenches, machine-guns, directed starvation, concentration camps, and aerial bombardment. By the time of the Great War, chivalry was utterly dead. The honour of bright uniform and tangible spirit of elan, espirit, eclat met their final dance at Waterloo.