Following the current fashion in historiography to publish battlefield guides, as useful to serious scholars as they are to casual visitors, Charles J. Esdaile, professor at the University of Liverpool and a leading Napoleonic historian, has published Walking Waterloo with the invaluable assistance of the War Heritage Institute in Brussels, Belgium.
Lavishly illustrated with maps and paintings accompanied by personal writings from officers and soldiers from a variety of corners on the battlefield as well as some personal comments from the author, the book succeeds in presenting a fresh viewpoint of the battle.
For example, Esdaile avers that the loss of le Haye Sainte was much more serious to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington because the soldiers posted there could fire beyond the Ohain road. Esdaile also explain that, contrary to popular legend, the last rearguard action of the 1st and 2nd Grenadiers á Pied of the Imperial Guard did not even remotely resemble a “last stand.” The French troops remained in place and repulsed continuous attacks by the British cavalry to allow the defeated Napoleon to escape the battlefield before their survivors marched away in the gathering darkness. Walking Waterloo should appeal in equal measure not only to visitors of the battlefield, but general enthusiasts of the Napoleonic Wars.