skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Wall Street Journal review of Brendan Simms' 'The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo'.

last modified Apr 22, 2015 08:11 PM

Originally published by The Wall Street Journal.

The Good Germans: Was the Battle of Waterloo primarily a 'British' or a 'Prussian' victory – or a genuinely 'Allied' one?

Whether holding the "Hot Gates" against the Persians, manning the Alamo in defiance of Santa Anna's massed Mexican troops or repelling waves of Zulu warriors at Rorke's Drift, the outnumbered defenders of improvised strongpoints exert a powerful hold on the popular imagination. In "The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo," Brendan Simms recounts another defiant stand, the exploits of a battalion of German soldiers who defended the substantial farmhouse of La Haye Sainte, which bolstered the center of the Duke of Wellington's line during his bloody and decisive encounter with Napoleon Bonaparte near Brussels on June 18, 1815.

The defense of La Haye Sainte already features in many books and was depicted on the big screen in the epic 1970 movie "Waterloo." Yet the protracted and ferocious struggle for the farmhouse is typically treated as a small act in a much larger drama, and Mr. Simms believes that its true significance has been underplayed. Shifting the farmhouse and its stubborn garrison to center stage, "The Longest Afternoon" is among the opening shots of what promises to become an intensive barrage of books timed to the Waterloo bicentenary this summer. While running to barely 150 pages of text, Mr. Simms's fluent and meticulously researched narrative nonetheless provides enough context to engage not only specialists, but also readers unfamiliar with the broader historical background.

Read the full article here.

Upcoming events

The Falklands/Malvinas 35 Years On

Jul 03, 2017

Alison Richard Building, SG2

Upcoming events

RSS Feed Latest news

Decline reading group end of term report

Jun 26, 2017

In 2017 the Forum on Geopolitics convened a reading group for a series of eight discussions titled: ‘From Thucydides to Trump. Decline in History.’ The reading group investigated the causes of the decline of nations, empires and civilizations, bringing together participants from the fields of history, law, business, public policy, urban studies, physics, and ecology. The group read texts by Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Ibn Khaldun, Machiavelli, Rousseau, Hegel, Nietzsche, and social theorist Joseph Tainter. The texts were chosen for their theoretical power, intellectual rigour, and capacity to shed light on the state of the world in the twenty-first century. In a future effort, the Forum hopes to expand its scope of inquiry by addressing the problem of developing grand strategy in the context of decline.

Forum on Geopolitics hosts former Catalonian president

Jun 26, 2017

The Forum on Geopolitics was honoured to host Artur Mas, the 129th president of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

Forum on Geopolitics Triple Bill on Brexit Report

Jun 06, 2017

The University of Cambridge’s Forum on Geopolitics is pleased to present this report of a series of three events held in May focusing on Brexit as part of its “Britain and Europe” research projects.

Michael Gove gives talk to Forum on Geopolitics

May 12, 2017

The Forum on Geopolitics hosts Michael Gove

View all news

« June 2017 »
June
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930