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The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo
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Basic Books 2015
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From the prizewinning author of Europe, a riveting account of the heroic Second Light Battalion, which held the line at Waterloo, defeating Napoleon and changing the course of history.
In 1815, the deposed emperor Napoleon returned to France and threatened the already devastated and exhausted continent with yet another war. Near the small Belgian municipality of Waterloo, two large, hastily mobilized armies faced each other to decide the future of Europe-Napoleon's forces on one side, and the Duke of Wellington on the other.
With so much at stake, neither commander could have predicted that the battle would be decided by the Second Light Battalion, King's German Legion, which was given the deceptively simple task of defending the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a crucial crossroads on the way to Brussels. In The Longest Afternoon, Brendan Simms captures the chaos of Waterloo in a minute-by-minute account that reveals how these 400-odd riflemen successfully beat back wave after wave of French infantry. The battalion suffered terrible casualties, but their fighting spirit and refusal to retreat ultimately decided the most influential battle in European history.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/10/2015
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780465039944
ASIN:
B00NP8MDYA

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Brendan Simms. (2015). The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo. Basic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Brendan Simms. 2015. The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo. Basic Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Brendan Simms, The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo. Basic Books, 2015.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Brendan Simms. The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo. Basic Books, 2015.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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From the prizewinning author of Europe, a riveting account of the heroic Second Light Battalion, which held the line at Waterloo, defeating Napoleon and changing the course of history.
In 1815, the deposed emperor Napoleon returned to France and threatened the already devastated and exhausted continent with yet another war. Near the small Belgian municipality of Waterloo, two large, hastily mobilized armies faced each other to decide the future of Europe-Napoleon's forces on one side, and the Duke of Wellington on the other.
With so much at stake, neither commander could have predicted that the battle would be decided by the Second Light Battalion, King's German Legion, which was given the deceptively simple task of defending the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a crucial crossroads on the way to Brussels. In The Longest Afternoon, Brendan Simms captures the chaos of Waterloo in a minute-by-minute account that reveals how these 400-odd riflemen successfully beat back wave after wave of French infantry. The battalion suffered terrible casualties, but their fighting spirit and refusal to retreat ultimately decided the most influential battle in European history.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 16, 2015
        For history readers who appreciate grainy, detailed battle accounts, this fine book concerns the carnage, heroism, and occasional stupidity that occurred around a single Belgian farmhouse at the center of the battlefield at Waterloo during a few hours in 1815. Normally, images of Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington are conjured when thinking of that conflict—when the deposed French emperor tried to retake his imperial throne after a triumphal return from Elba. But as usual, these historical giants had much less to do with the battlefield than their soldiers, many of whom on the British side hailed from the German kingdom of Hanover. With the aid of astonishingly-preserved and vivid contemporary accounts, Simms (Europe), of Peterhouse College, Cambridge, brings these soldiers' actions brilliantly alive. From battlefield records two centuries old, he's extracted moving scenes of their courage, bravery, and initiative. In the end, there's no question that the shape and history of 19th-century Europe owes a debt to these 400-odd warriors, who withstood repeated waves of French forces and prevented Napoleon's breakthrough. It's a remarkably detailed book, which is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness. Nevertheless, Simms shows that without these troops, Great Britain and the German states would have been deeply imperiled.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 1, 2014
        A slim but gripping account of the bloody, heroic defense of La Haye Sainte, a farmhouse that Napoleon had to capture to reach the Duke of Wellington's army.The massive stone building survives intact; not so its defenders, a battle-tested unit of the British army. Simms (History of International Relations/Peterhouse Coll., Univ. of Oxford; Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, from 1453 to the Present, 2013, etc.) begins in 1803 when Napoleon annexed the German principality of Hanover and dissolved its army. Following these events, many soldiers fled to Britain, where they and other expatriates were numerous enough to form the King's German Legion, which fought in Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain before its supreme test in Belgium on June 18, 1815. As the author writes, they "were motivated by a combination of ideological opposition to Napoleonic tyranny, dynastic loyalty to the King of England, German patriotism, regimental camaraderie, personal bonds of friendship and professional ethos." The Duke of Wellington placed most of his army behind a ridge and ordered a battalion of the legion 400 meters ahead to occupy the house, but he sent the legion's engineers elsewhere, making extensive fortification impossible. Worse, he made no provisions for resupplying ammunition beyond the standard issue of 60 rounds. At 1 p.m., the French attacked, surrounding the house. Beaten back, they attacked again and again, setting it on fire but not capturing it until after 6 p.m., when the surviving defenders retreated for lack of ammunition. This allowed Napoleon to launch the Imperial Guards at Wellington's lines, which were beaten back as the Prussian army arrived to turn it into a rout. Since literacy was common even among enlisted men, Simms takes advantage of abundant letters and memoirs to deliver an engrossing, often gruesome nuts-and-bolts description of that afternoon.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from January 1, 2015

        There are times when a relatively small number of men can make a difference. Napoleon's armies routed Prussian forces before the critical battle of Waterloo (1815) but Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher--in support of British solider Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington--refused to concede. Blucher rallied his troops and guided them back to battle. His return was the decisive moment in the final defeat of the French army. Before Blucher's reappearance though, French pressure on the line of the Duke of Wellington threatened to overwhelm the Allies. That is, until the battle for farmhouse-compound La Haye Sainte where, in the middle of the battle line, 400 Hanoverians fended off repeated attacks from French troops for five hours, buying Blucher enough time to reengage and attack. It can be easy to forget that history started as telling stories and that good stories explain things, imposing order on and assigning significance to the chaos of contingent events. Simms (history, Cambridge Univ.; Europe: The Struggle for Supremacy, from 1453 to the Present) has done an admirable job of showing that stories do still count. VERDICT This thoroughly engrossing account will thrill all history lovers.--David Keymer, Modesto, CA

        Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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From the prizewinning author of Europe, a riveting account of the heroic Second Light Battalion, which held the line at Waterloo, defeating Napoleon and changing the course of history.
In 1815, the deposed emperor Napoleon returned to France and threatened the already devastated and exhausted continent with yet another war. Near the small Belgian municipality of Waterloo, two large, hastily mobilized armies faced each other to decide the future of Europe-Napoleon's forces on one side, and the Duke of Wellington on the other.
With so much at stake, neither commander could have predicted that the battle would be decided by the Second Light Battalion, King's German Legion, which was given the deceptively simple task of defending the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a crucial crossroads on the way to Brussels. In The Longest Afternoon, Brendan Simms captures the chaos of Waterloo in a minute-by-minute account that reveals how these 400-odd riflemen successfully beat...
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