2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant Work of Fiction,
This review is from: Sharpe's Waterloo (Sharpe's Adventures, No. 11) (Paperback)Whilst reading this book I tried desperately to keep in mind that this was fiction and that it was for entertainment - although my own opinions of the battle, often contrary to the author's, continued to creep up on me.
Enjoyed simply as a work of fiction is book is damn good - one of the best novels of the Napoleonic period (most other novel's cocnentrate on the war at sea which was minor and largely over - at least in the seas around Europe - by 1805). I highly recommend this not just to those who have an interest in the time, but simply to any reader who wants a brilliant action novel.
As for my disagreements with the author's potrayal of the battle - well Waterloo is probably the most controversial battle in history and it would be impossible to get everyone to agree. The author gives the typical English opinion of the battle - that is Wellington's brilliance won the battle. No doubt Wellington was one of the greatest generals of the age along with Davout, Suvorov and of course Napoleon. Waterloo however was not his greatest battle. To attribute the battle's outcome to Napoleon's or his Marshals' failures, to Wellington's skill or to the Prussians' arrival is folly. It was a mixture of all of these factors. Wellington would have been defeated without the Prussians arriving. Had Wellington not been the skilled general he was the Prussians would have arrived to find the Anglo-Dutch army already defeated and would have in turn been defeated. Had Napoleon not been so inatttentive he would have performed just as he had in all of his brilliant battles and against Napoleon at his best even Wellington would have lost. Had Ney not been so impetuous or had Grouhcy not been so overcautious the battle would have gone against the Allies. It was all these things that led to the outcome.
Oh and I believe one reviewer said that Waterloo was the largest battle of the age - there were plenty of larger battles in 1812 and 1813 as well as some earlier. Leipzig was by far the largest - similar in size to some of WWI and II's large battles.