The Longest Afternoon
‘A superb little book that is micro-history at its best’ Washington Post
‘The brevity of this remarkable book belies the amount of work that went into it. One can only marvel at how well Professor Simms has gone through the original sources – the surviving journals, reminiscences and letters of the individual combatants – to produce a coherent and gripping narrative’ Nick Lezard, Guardian
The true story, told minute by minute, of the soldiers who defeated Napoleon – from Brendan Simms, acclaimed author of Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy
Europe had been at war for over twenty years. After a short respite in exile, Napoleon had returned to France and threatened another generation of fighting across the devastated and exhausted continent. At the small Belgian village of Waterloo two large, hastily mobilized armies faced each other to decide the future of Europe.
Unknown either to Napoleon or Wellington the battle would be decided by a small, ordinary group of British and German troops given the task of defending the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte. This book tells their extraordinary story, brilliantly recapturing the fear, chaos and chanciness of battle and using previously untapped eye-witness reports. Through determination, cunning and fighting spirit, some four hundred soldiers held off many thousands of French and changed the course of history.
[Simms] tells more about realities of boots-on-the-ground combat than any other Waterloo book I have encountered. A five-gun read. -- Joseph C. Goulden * Washington Times * Mr. Simms's fluent and meticulously researched narrative provides enough context to engage not only specialists, but also readers unfamiliar with the broader historical background...by focusing upon a particular episode, rather than the bigger picture, Mr. Simms manages to reflect the grim reality of Waterloo better than some more comprehensive surveys -- Stephen Brumwell * The Wall Street Journal * A superb little book that is micro-history at its best -- Paul O'Keeffe * Washington Post * The brevity of this remarkable book belies the amount of work that went into it. One can only marvel at how well Professor Simms has gone through the original sources - the surviving journals, reminiscences and letters of the individual combatants - to produce a coherent and gripping narrative -- Nick Lezard * The Guardian *
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