This is the third and final volume in a trilogy of Campaign titles looking at the Waterloo campaign, following on from books on Quatre Bras and on Ligny. The first two volumes in the trilogy were both stand-alone books, starting with Napoleon on Elba, and ending with a brief account of the other action on the same day. This final volume is different - we start at dawn on 17 June, in the aftermath of the battles of Quatre Bras and Ligny and trace the events of the next two days from there. As a result the reader really needs one of the previous books, or to be broadly familiar with the outline of the campaign, but I do think that this was the right approach to take - there is a fixed amount of space in a Campaign series title.
As with the first two books in the trilogy, the bulk of the available space is dedicated to the battle itself, a good decision that allows Franklin to pack a great deal of detail into his text.
Unlike many authors Franklin has chose to weave the Prussian contribution into the main flow of the text, placing their arrival on the battlefield in the correct place in the narrative. This makes it much clearer how big an impact the Prussians had, forcing Napoleon to divert more and more of his attention to his threatened right flank. The fighting at Wavre is dealt with separately, but it didn’t directly impinge on the battle at Waterloo, so that's a fair choice.
This is a good account of the crucial battle of Waterloo, benefiting greatly from being part of a trilogy, and thus not having to dedicate space to the build-up to the battle.
The Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Wavre
The Battlefields Today
Author: John Franklin