Waterloo is Jeremy Black's brilliant attempt to set the famous battle in the context of warfare in the period, and not only that of Napoleonic Europe. Black also uses Waterloo to contextualise the changing nature of war, the rise and fall of Napoleon's empire, and the influence of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars on the nineteenth century. Waterloo was an iconic battle for the British, a triumph of endurance that ensured a nineteenth-century world in which Britain played the key role. It was also a defining moment for the French, bringing to the end both the reign of Napoleon I and also the second Hundred Years' War between Britain and France, a conflict that had started in 1689. Lastly, the battle was important for a host of other participants, from Prussia, the state that was to be the basis of modern Germany, to the Netherlands and Belgium, whose fate it decided until the Belgian revolution of 1830, and to minor German principalities such as Hanover, Brunswick and Nassau, each of which also sent troops to the Duke of Wellington's army. In Waterloo, Jeremy Black has the fullest measure of this most famous of battles. Its consequences can not be overstated and the inherent drama of the battle, which Lord Wellington immortally dubbed "the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life"; make this an engrossing read. This masterly synthesis will stand as the definitive modern short book on the battle.
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