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am 15. Dezember 1999
Peter Hofschroer's sequel to 1815: The Waterloo Campaign - Wellington and His German Allies ... is now out there titled: 1815: The Waterloo Campaign - The German Victory The subtitle sums up Hofschroer's thesis, that the Germans, in particular the Prussians did most of the fighting, suffered the most casualties, as well as inflicting the most telling damage to the French.
Mr. Hofschroer covers all the traditional points of Waterloo, ie. Hugomont, LaHaye Sainte. He is not revisionist in the sense rewriting those engagements. Rather he presents in more detail than any other work in English that I have read (Siborne, Ropes, Fortescue, Naylor,and Chandler)about what the Prussians were up to that day. You get the whole battle with Hofschroer, but with different emphases.
Mr. Hofschroer goes into quite a bit of detail with regards to the fighting between Thielemann and Grouchy at Wavre over the period June 18-19. He also goes into quite a bit of detail of the Prussian pursuit of the defeated French back to Paris and is quite explicit in stating that it was a Prussian pursuit not an Allied pursuit. Wellington seems to have functioned in an ancillary role on the western flank, somewhat to the rear of Blucher's spearheads.
With regards to Siborne, Mr. Hofschroer gives him credit for researching and correcting the time of Wellington's receipt of the news on June 15 regarding the advance of French. In his first edition Siborne reports that the Duke received the news (from Zieten) sometime between three and four in the afternoon. Siborne later corrected this in a 3rd edition to 9 a.m. Mr. Hofschroer simply states that most British Waterloo historians ignored the correction. Wellington's disregard of the 9 a.m. message was an error in judgement on his part which he sought to mask by stating that the Prussians were tardy in getting it to him. (For what it is worth the Greenhill edition of Siborne published in 1990 is the 3rd edition.)
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am 13. März 2000
This book is a major contribution to the history of the Napoleonic war in 1815. It reveals a wealth of important information about the German soldiers in 1815 that I had not previously known. This is profoundly researched study, very readable, and an example of how military history should be researched and written. It firmly cement Hofschroer's reputation as a very talented writer and a fine historian. The scholarship appears thorough and careful. This study is written in an accessible style.
I consider this work one of the most eye opening books of military history. Hofschroer does not claim that the Prussians won at Waterloo, or won alone the War of 1815, but that 3/4 of the victors were German speaking folks. Thus the German and Prussian contribution to the victory was DECISIVE.
Although I love to read Siborne and Chesney, I was a little bit tired from the national fanfaronade from some other British historians. And the lack of humility and objectivity in their works is shameful. They like to criticize Napoleon and ridicule Blucher, but their own Wellington is treated like a SACRED COW. I feel the strong , national, FEEL GOOD, spirit of their books. Also they are too often too keen to blame foreigners for all their own sins.
According to my count of the sales ranks on Internet Hofschoerer's "Waterloo: the German Victory" is the No 1 bestseller (of Napoleonics). It surpased even other fine works like: Elting's "Swords around a throne"(No 2)
Bowden's "Napoleon and Austerlitz"(No3) Nafziger's "Ivasion of Russia" (No4) and Duffy's "Eagles over the Alps" (No 5)
This book covers also the sieges of French fortresses by the Prussians, and THEIR capture of Paris. The maps are fine. This book is worth bying!
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am 6. Juli 2000
This volume, part two in a series on the Prussian (German) view of Waterloo, is an excellent historical study that covers much material that has sat in German archives for much too long.
There has evidently been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over this book and its well done predecessor, but that is to be expected, I would suppose. The author is one of the best researchers that is writing today and he does his level best to be fair. If feathers are ruffled by what he has found, maybe it's about time.
In all fairness, as I said in my review on the author's first volume on the Waterloo campaign, he and I have crossed swords on Napoleonic topics, generally do not agree with each other, and do not get along at all. That has nothing whatsoever to do with this review.
He has done a superb job here, and in my opinion, has bent over backwards to be fair. One of the areas I checked immediately upon receipt of the book was to see if (1) he mentioned the two battalion assault on Plancenoit by the Old Guard, (2) if he talked about how badly they defeated the Prussians facing them, and (3) if his account was, in my opinion, fair and accurate. The answers to my questions were yes, yes, and yes. I theeby launched into an enjoyable and informative read of the book. It is definitely a keeper and sits on my bookshelf with its companion volume.
The author does not write as an exultant Prussian, but as a careful historian who knows his business. Using archival material can be full of traps and pitfalls, as I was told by two historians who are friends of mine. The trick is not to just find information, but to be able to 'interpret' it, synthesize it, and evaluate what is accurate and what is not. Just because said after action report or strength return is in an archive does not mean it is accurate at face value, be it English, French, Prussian, or Austrian. You have to be careful what you find and use, and the author in this case has done just that.
This book should be bought and used by every Napoleonic enthusiast, and is more than useful as a reference in itself.
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am 28. Oktober 1999
When you consider how much has been written about the Napoleonic Wars and particularly the Waterloo Campaign, it is admirable that somebody can come up with so much new material so long after the event. This book is well-written, well-presented, well-illustrated (particularly the maps) and has surely got to become the standard text on the campaign for many years to come.
Hofschroer has the annoying habit of bringing hard facts to light. How many British accounts point out that 75% of the Allied troops in the campaign were German? He also shows how much of the fighting and marching they did - more than Wellington's much-praised British troops. I suppose we are going to hear the sadly by now usual Oxford-accented howls of protest from certain people in the British military establishment. A shame they cannot make any meaningful or factually correct criticism.
Then comes a very interesting chapter on how Wellington went about protecting his reputation - with deliberate falsehoods and suppression of revealing material by Clausewitz. Those that see Wellington as some sort of saint are going to see what sort of politician he really was. I suppose we are going to get the sadly by now usual hysterics from certain other quarters. A shame these people cannot deal with this issue on a factual basis.
Judging by the criticisms of the first part of this work, it is probable that certain parts of the British historical establishment will come out with the same sort of unfounded and factually incorrect criticism made about volume one. It is understandable that a group of people who have made their reputations from peddling incorrect information get upset. A shame they cannot base their criticisms on the real facts of the situation.
This is a lot of book for not a lot of money. It is the best book on Waterloo written since Siborne - and he wrote nearly 200 years ago. There will probably not be a better book on the subject for another 200 years!
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am 13. März 2000
This book is a major contribution to the history of the Napoleonic war in 1815. It reveals a wealth of important information about the German soldiers in 1815 that I had not previously known. This is profoundly researched study, very readable, and an example of how military history should be researched and written. It firmly cement Hofschroer's reputation as a very talented writer and a fine historian. The scholarship appears thorough and careful. This study is written in an accessible style.
I consider this work one of the most eye opening books of military history. Hofschroer does not claim that the Prussians won at Waterloo, or won alone the War of 1815, but that 3/4 of the victors were German speaking folks. Thus the German and Prussian contribution to the victory was DECISIVE.
Although I love to read Siborne and Chesney, I was a little bit tired from the national fanfaronade from some other British historians. And the lack of humility and objectivity in their works is shameful. They like to criticize Napoleon and ridicule Blucher, but their own Wellington is treated like a SACRED COW. I feel the strong , national, FEEL GOOD, spirit of their books. Also they are too often too keen to blame foreigners for all their own sins.
According to my count of the sales ranks on Internet Hofschoerer's "Waterloo: the German Victory" is the No 1 bestseller (of Napoleonics). It surpased even other fine works like: Elting's "Swords around a throne"(No 2)
Bowden's "Napoleon and Austerlitz"(No3) Nafziger's "Ivasion of Russia" (No4) and Duffy's "Eagles over the Alps" (No 5)
This book covers also the sieges of French fortresses by the Prussians, and THEIR capture of Paris. The maps are fine. This book is worth bying!
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am 17. November 1999
This was exceptionally well researched, and has tons of new information for me, an English-language reader. The facts are presented in an interesting and professional manner. The author successfully challenges the typical English point of view on 1815. Truly an eye opening book for thousands of readers.
After reading this book I better understand the role the Prussians played in this campaign, and I admire their achievements. It puts the role Wellington's troops played into proper perspective.
Surprising for me is Wellington's nasty personality. This was the dark character of this war.
Paddy
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am 4. April 2000
Certain of Hofschroer's critics are proud of the fact that they have never read his books. It seems we have another one of those here. My copy of this book does not contain rambling text, bad punctuation or any misspellings (note the correct way of spelling that word!). One wonders what makes sad people like the reader from the United Kingdom make such comments. Has the indulged in their beef a little too much?
No, the truth is we have the finest work on Waterloo here since Siborne. No amount of dishonest criticism will change that fact.
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am 17. März 2000
Personally I like my history to be just the truth and not a lot of rambling, badly punctuated, miss-spelt drivel. I think that little research has gone into this book and there is little justification as to why the Prussians were so very late in arriving at Waterloo. The Prussians were beaten at Ligny on the 16th by the superior skill and fighting ability of the French. Gneisenau who distrusted Wellington when he was supposed to be working with him, wanted to leave Wellington and the Anglo Dutch army to its fate and retreat back across the Rhine. Once the actual fighting began between the Prussians and the French Corps of Lobau, the former displayed definite combat weakness and were driven back from Plancenoit with an ease that the French must have found surprising. The Prussians definitely helped win the day but the war? No, I think not. The author seems to have a particular chip about Wellington and his opposition to the Prussians thirst for their own power base. Well we only have to look at later history to see that he was not that bad a judge (if it were true). The first novel in this series Waterloo 1815 is probably worse than this (just). Read anything but this.
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