Bookish bicentenary for Waterloo

Bookish bicentenary for Waterloo

The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, in June 2015, has inspired a slew of tie-in publishing.

Andre Deutsch, an imprint of Carlton Books, is publishing the latest in its Treasures and Experiences series. The Battle of Waterloo Experience (April, £30) has been written by father and son team Peter and Dan Snow, who have previously co-authored two history books for BBC Books—20th Century Battlefields (2007) and Battlefield Britain (2004)—as well as presenting history programmes on television and radio.

Piers Murray Hill, editorial director at Carlton, said: “This book is both a commemoration of one of the greatest battles of all time and a completely fresh examination of each phase of the fighting. Few, if any, battles have such a spectacular mix of appalling bloodshed and romantic heroism.”

The book includes facsimiles of letters from the National Army Museum and full-colour battle maps. Murray Hill said: “You can examine and read these important items of historical evidence at your leisure, in perfect conditions [rather than] behind glass, lit with very low light to preserve their contents.”

March sees the release of a Waterloo edition of Oxford University Press’ Great Battles series (£18.99), written by Alan Forrest, emeritus professor of modern history at the University of York. In April, The History Press is publishing Waterloo in 100 Objects by Gareth Glover (£25), which uses photographs of rare and memorable objects— including weapons and battle plans—to tell the story of the conflict.

In a different tone, Faber is publishing The News from Waterloo by Brian Cathcart (£16.99), which is “light relief from all of the stodgier books on Waterloo released in time for the bicentenary”. The title focuses on the journeys of five men tasked with bringing news of the outcome of the battle to London.

Yale University Press’ (YUP) offering focuses on the Duke of Wellington. Its June title, Wellington: Waterloo and the Fortune of Peace, 1814–1852, has been written by research fellow and Wellington scholar Rory Muir. The book is a biography of Wellington that opens with his triumph at Waterloo, and follows him through his later life. YUP is supporting the book by providing extensive commentary on a dedicated website.

June also sees the paperback release of Waterloo: Four Days that Changed Europe’s Destiny by Tim Clayton (Abacus, £10.99)—the hardback (£25) was published in September. The title reveals the “darker, muddier story no longer biased by notions of regimental honour, but a tapestry of irony, accident, courage, horror and human frailty”.

Random House imprint The Bodley Head has just released Waterloo: The Aftermath by Paul O’Keeffe (£25), which examines what happened after the battle and how it shaped public consciousness. It is described as “a close-up view of the hours, days and weeks after the battle, which were at least as significant as the battle itself”.