Clash of Steel
for Military History & Aviation enthusiasts

Search :

Review for Walcheren to Waterloo


Author : Andrew Limm

This is not a comfortable read for anyone steeped in British military history. We are used to reading of victories, we are meant to win campaigns. This, on the other hand, is a story of defeats and failures. Andrew Limm tells it how it was, a level of political and military bungling which should have been an embarrassment to all concerned. He expertly describes four expeditions to the Low countries from their political origins to their military failures. He draws out what should have been lessons for the politicians and the generals of the time but which they failed to learn and as a consequence we’re doomed to repeat, and he goes on to explain that great scourge of the army, Walcheren fever, and how it was both known about and not prepared for. The theme running through the whole narrative is of how little evaluation was done and how very modest any army reforms were during the Napoleonic period.
The huge amount of research undertaken by the author comes out in the text, the supporting notes and the bibliography. This could have resulted in a dry academic tome but although that quality is still there it is most readable. There are a few pertinent illustrations. My only complaint is about the maps. Yet again we see a book published with maps without scales and in the case of the Schedlt Estuary expedition the map does not show the island of Cadsand and yet in the text it’s importance to the expedition is repeatedly emphasised.
This book is worth reading for the conclusion alone. Not only is it an excellent condensation of the previous chapters but it is a remarkable summation of Wellington as a military leader which captures his essence in a way superior to many more wordy works.
We recommend this book without reservation.

Published by : Pen & Sword Military, 2018
ISBN : 978-1-47387-468-8

Review last updated : 2018-11-14 14:00:02


See also : other "Napoleonic Wars" reviews