Saturday 20 February 2016

The Longest Afternoon

Finished February 20
The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo by Brendan Simms

This slim history book looks at the decisive action that occurred at the farm of La Haye Sainte, the battle that was decisive in the action at Waterloo. The action began on June 18 1815 and the main players against Napoleon's troops were the King's German Legion, but the forces present also included British, Nassauers, Dutch, Belgian, Brunswickers, and Hanoverian regular army.
Simms shows us the timelines from both the French side and that of their adversaries. We see the men involved, their individual actions and reactions, their fates, and their interactions with each other. Simms also looks at their loyalty to the cause that shows in this battle and posits theories behind it.
Three maps are included: one of the farm, one of the troop positions the night of June 17-18, and one of troop placement across Europe. I would have liked more information on these, such as legends and text backgrounders, as the information on the maps wasn't always covered in the history given here.
The notes and bibliography are numerous, providing citations and further reading for those looking to delve deeper into this historic event.

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