As we approach the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, MHM takes a look at some of the books and tours on offer.
WATERLOO VOICES 1815: THE BATTLE AT FIRST HAND
BY MARTYN BEARDSLEY
The tale of the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars has been told many times, but in this new book the accounts come from letters, diaries, and published accounts, sometimes recounted many years later, and are the eyewitness testimonies of officers and ordinary soldiers, friend and foe. These were people who were actually there at the time. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Waterloo Voices is a gripping collection of first-hand experiences that 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.
PUBLISHER: Amberley Publishing
WHERE TO BUY: www.amberleybooks.com
WATERLOO BATTLEFIELD TOURS
Alan Lindsey, who has lived close to the battlefield and studied it for 20 years, takes small groups or individuals over the three battlefields of Waterloo Quatre Bras and Ligny. The march of events, the dominant personalities, the manoeuvres of each army, and the actions of individual soldiers, coloured by the weather conditions and the influence of the terrain, are all revealed with humour and insight.
Visits include the Wellington Museum, Le Caillou, Hougoumont, the Lion Mound, Plancenoit, etc. Each tour is organised according to your requirements and special interests. Transport for up to four passengers is included.
We recommend our clients stay in Waterloo, which is a sophisticated place these days with many first-class hotels and restaurants.
TEL: +32 10 41 08 40
MOB: +32 (0)475 616 646
SELECTED TOURS: See website.
BIRD BATTLEFIELD TOURS
WATERLOO 1815: A DAY OF HARD POUNDING
The bloody battle of Waterloo is unique. It saw the defeat of not just a French army, but that of a commander-in-chief, an emperor and a system of government. It was ‘a near-run thing’, and but for tactical blunders by Marshal Ney the French might have smashed through the Allied squares before Blücher’s timely arrival. Historians Tony and Nicky Bird of Bird Battlefield Tours specialise in taking smallish groups on tailor-made convivial tours of European battlefields. Let them know your preferred dates (three days) and the size of your group and they will quote for an exclusive tour, making all arrangements. Via Eurostar, London – Brussels.
SELECTED TOURS: Three days of your choice in late 2015 and 2016
BY ALAN FORREST
For all its ferocity, Waterloo was a battle that would be remembered very differently across Europe. In Britain it would be seen as an iconic battle whose memory would be enmeshed in British national identity across the following century. It failed to achieve this iconic status elsewhere. In Prussia it was overshadowed by the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig, while in Holland it was a simple appendage to the prestige of the House of Orange. And in France it was the epitome of a heroic defeat that served to sustain the romantic legend of the Napoleonic Wars and contributed to the growing cult of Napoleon himself.
Whereas most works on the battle of Waterloo are only military in nature, Alan Forrest’s outstanding work describes every aspect of how the battle was fought but deals equally with the aftermath: how it has been commemorated, and its legacy.
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
WHERE TO BUY: www.oup.com
WATERLOO ANNIVERSARY TOUR
Rifleman Tours specialises in small group battlefield tours totalling up to 20 passengers. This gives a more intimate and personal touch to its tours, more time at each site and a closer relationship with your guide.
Every tour is based at a central three-star hotel. Museum entrance fees and tour-day lunches are included, along with complimentary drinks and snacks served on board your executive transport.
The Waterloo tour covers the entire campaign with all major sites visited. It will bring to life the battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny and the major engagement in the shallow valley south of the small town of Waterloo, which lends its name to the battle.
Rifleman Tours also specialises in the First and Second World Wars, with visits where possible.
SELECTED TOURS: 11-14 September
To see this article as it appeared in issue 56 of Military History Monthly, click here.