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"Waterloo: the Truth at Last......Paul Dawson" Topic

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Allan F Mountford16 Nov 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

Waterloo: the Truth at Last: Why Napoleon Lost the Great Battle Hardcover 30 Sep 2017
by Paul L. Dawson (Author)

Has anyone read this yet?


Oliver Schmidt16 Nov 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

Amazon says: This title will be released on April 13, 2018.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 12:56 p.m. PST

I am so grateful for this posting.

Several other threads on 1815 books have had me looking through my collection, unable to find this. Not in the study, not in the garage, not in the attic, not on Kindle. Where is the wretched thing?

So many daftly subtitled books on Waterloo…from respected authors…blame the publishers. "The Lie at..", "The End of a 200 year conspiracy", "The regt that…", " the 400 at LHS who won the battle single handed etc

Well now I know why I simply could not find it.

wrgmr116 Nov 2017 1:18 p.m. PST

Sounds like you had fun deadhead!

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 2:39 p.m. PST

"The truth at last….."
How could it possibly say anything that hasn't been argued in dozens of books for the last 200 years?
I'll bet you a beer there will be nothing new to say.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 2:47 p.m. PST

The theory I enjoy the most is where the French, during DeErlons attack and also Neys massive cavalry attacks were actually tripped by small little pesky garden gnomes the British had placed in the high grass just for that purpose??

Russ Dunaway

N0tt0N16 Nov 2017 2:57 p.m. PST

Deadhead, what DID you find? :)

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 3:11 p.m. PST

Saw a post on FB a couple days ago from a guy who claimed to have helped with the research, and he said it was going to be a blockbuster. I'm guessing it's the garden gnomes that did it…

evilgong16 Nov 2017 3:13 p.m. PST

Spoiler alert; Prussians.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 3:29 p.m. PST

I knew it! I knew there were Prussians there!

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 4:01 p.m. PST


Have you tried Fields' books on the French perspective of the campaign? I am working my way through them now and am finding all sorts of things that haven't been in 200 years of (English-language) books.

Not that I expect to find anything new in the namesake book of this thread. Doesn't it argue that some regiment or another should get all the credit usually given to Maitland's brigade, or some such?

huevans01116 Nov 2017 4:11 p.m. PST

Anthony Dawson discussed the book on FB. Paul obtained access to a new set of archives, hitherto not known to have survived.

The blurb promises to upend all established knowledge and opinion about the Battle.

Well, we'll see. It's an interesting come on anyway.

42flanker16 Nov 2017 4:33 p.m. PST

The Prussians were resting in the rye after their dash from Ligny and the French just tripped over them. All very embarassing. Wellington agreed to keep it quiet. That's also how Uxbridge lost his leg. In all that shoulder-high cereal, it was impossible to pinpoint where he'd left it.

What about the theory that Napoleon lost because he failed to beat the allies- That got any mileage?

Osterreicher16 Nov 2017 5:17 p.m. PST

Would anyone recommend the author's work on Quatre Bras?
"Marshal Ney At Quatre Bras: New Perspectives on the Opening Battle of the Waterloo Campaign". Curious if it's well researched and documented, and is compelling enough to get.

wrgmr116 Nov 2017 6:51 p.m. PST

I keep going back to my rather old copy of "A Voice Frim Waterloo", by Sgt Major E. Cotton.

AussieAndy Supporting Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 7:32 p.m. PST

The title might be the fault of the publisher rather than the author, but it certainly puts me off buying the book.

badger22 Inactive Member16 Nov 2017 7:55 p.m. PST

I will wait. There are lots of existing eyewitness accounts, I dont see a few new ones overturning all of that. Perhaps adding to things we know, and also contradicting some things we know.

So maybe worth a read, but I will wait until some of the more knowledgeable folks on here read it first.

basileus66 Inactive Member16 Nov 2017 10:14 p.m. PST

Well, according to the excerpt in Amazon's website, what Dawson has done is to include new French archival material in his analysis of the battle. While this is important, of course, I doubt it is such a game changer as the publisher claims. At most, it will change previous ideas regarding how the French perceived the development of the battle, and will help to explain decisions taken by Napoleon and his generals. That, naturally, is the purpose of any new analysis. Barbero's book, for instance, is not particularly controversial nor included big revelations of new archival material, but it helps to better understand the general development of the battle by re-interpreting well known sources. That is what a good historian does. We'll see if Dawson manages to accomplish the same feat.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 10:17 p.m. PST

All joking aside -- I have always wondered if there was a sunken road involved that has never been mentioned during the various studies on Waterloo ?????
Also after this --I want the whole truth as to what really really really really happened at the Alamo and little Big Horn ???

Russ Dunaway

Allan F Mountford17 Nov 2017 2:10 a.m. PST

@ Oliver Schmidt

Amazon says: This title will be released on April 13, 2018.

Thank you for the update, but it does beg the question: If the 'truth at last' has been established, why will it take another five months to publish?

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2017 2:17 a.m. PST

Russ – in response to your inquiry (and depending upon
one's perspective):

The Good Guys won


The Bad Guys won

Brechtel19817 Nov 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

I find it quite odd that a 'new set' of archives was just recently found.

The almost obsessive 'search' for 'new' material has been going on for many years now and is starting to get old.

Good history is good history and I'll stick with Andrew Field's new studies on Waterloo. They are both very credible and well-written.

I also tend to shy away from any title with the terms 'truth' and 'new perspectives' attached to it.

4th Cuirassier17 Nov 2017 5:01 a.m. PST

@ mserafin

How could it possibly say anything that hasn't been argued in dozens of books for the last 200 years?

It could suggest Prussian ineptitude came within an ace of losing the campaign on 15th June. That would be pretty novel.

@ Brechtel

I'll stick with Andrew Field's new studies on Waterloo

My only quibble with Field's work is that some of the excerpts that he quotes from his sources are so needlessly long, and meander so far off the point, that after several hundred words from Sergeant Mauduit you've forgotten what was happening in the narrative.

What I do like about Field is that in my view he uses his sources like a proper historian. He doesn't seize on one account to declare that he's found a piece of evidence to overturn 200 years of historiography and thus reveal the secret of whatever. Instead he looks at everything and forms a view based on all the evidence, appropriately weighted for credibility.

Writes who aren't this meticulous have retarded, rather than advanced, understanding of the era. The obvious example is the writer who asserted that Wellington misled the Prussians about his intentions / ability to support them at Ligny. This claim was based on one misrepresented piece of correspondence and one misrepresented meeting between the two commanders, of which notes exist to show no such discussion occurred. Until debunked, this sort of sloppy and partial anti-scholarship -
in which two errant data points were used to resuscitate a defeated hypothesis briefly set us back about a hundred years.

Field would never have screwed up in such a way he'd have looked at the character of the participants, at what sources might be supposed to exist to support such an account and what they say, at the actual reliability of eyewitness accounts, and so on. Based on that and on his military experience, he'd have arrived at a reasoned view, which is what makes his books reliable and informative. If Field says we have X, Y and Z account and Z is probably about right, he is probably correct.

@ basileus

what Dawson has done is to include new French archival material in his analysis of the battle. While this is important, of course, I doubt it is such a game changer as the publisher claims.

Quite just because a source hasn't been translated before or used much it doesn't mean it's valuable or reliable. Regimental diaries tend to be pretty self-serving.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Nov 2017 5:05 a.m. PST

"Why Napoleon Lost the Great Battle"?

I'm going to paraphrase George Pickett when asked about Why the South lost at Gettysburg:

I always thought the British and Prussians had something to do with it.

von Winterfeldt17 Nov 2017 5:28 a.m. PST

There Paul Dawson prooved in his previous works to be a diligent researcher – I will look into it and will make up my mind when I read it.

New and very interesting information (which again gets ignored) comes up all the time, like the diaries of Clinton with all the revealing inspection reports about Allied regiments.

In case you can read French – Fields isn't providing anything new at all.

M C MonkeyDew17 Nov 2017 11:03 a.m. PST

Oh dear:

"Forget what you have read about the battle on the Mont St Jean on 18 June 1815; it did not happen that way. The start of the battle was delayed because of the state of the ground not so. Marshal Ney destroyed the French cavalry in his reckless charges against the Allied infantry squares wrong. The stubborn defense of Hougoumont, the key to Wellington's victory, where a plucky little garrison of British Guards held the farmhouse against the overwhelming force of Jerome Bonaparte's division and the rest of II Corps not true. Did the Union Brigade really destroy d'Erlon's Corps, did the Scots Greys actually attack a massed French battery, did La Haie Sainte hold out until late in the afternoon?

All these and many more of the accepted stories concerning the battle are analysed through accounts (some 200 in all) previously unpublished, mainly derived through French sources, with startling conclusions. Most significantly of all is the revelation of exactly how, and why, Napoleon was defeated

From Amazon

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member17 Nov 2017 11:29 a.m. PST

It was the dreaded "Farmer Giles", wasn't it?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP17 Nov 2017 11:47 a.m. PST

Surely by now we all know that all the myths mentioned had some relevance but were not the sole explanation.

Mud did not help, but waiting for the French Army to march up and assemble had much to do with the delay. Ney's attack certainly did nothing to avoid exhausting the cavalry, but a combined arms assault would have still made it not such a bad idea……was not the problem the constricted battlefield? We have long known about the other nationalities involved in Hgmt but few can doubt its influence and importance. D'Erlon's Corps may not have been destroyed, long argued eg Adkin, but they certainly seemed to lose interest for a long period. I suspect some Scots Greys really did get in amongst the artillery that had moved too far forward for safety. LHS fell at some stage…."late in the afternoon"?

M C MonkeyDew18 Nov 2017 10:25 a.m. PST

What if the sealed documents proved that Sharpe's Waterloo wasn't actually fiction at all?

Brownand18 Nov 2017 2:20 p.m. PST

Isn't it beter to wait for this book and then give opinions about it instead all this rummblejumble?

Hagman Inactive Member18 Nov 2017 3:35 p.m. PST

Surely the truth these days is that the Prussians won the battle, aided by some Dutch, Belgians, Hannoverians, Nassauers, etc. – and there were a few useless Brits sat around doing nothing important?

badger22 Inactive Member18 Nov 2017 6:05 p.m. PST

Perhaps Napoleon didnt really lose, but chose to withdrawn for humanitarian reasons?

14Bore19 Nov 2017 5:00 a.m. PST

I might be glad this will be the last book of Waterloo ever written

Brechtel19819 Nov 2017 5:38 a.m. PST

Don't hold your breath…

That being said, I highly recommend the two-volume study on the campaign and battle by John Hussey, Waterloo: The Campaign of 1815.

Simple title, excellent study and it might be the most comprehensive to date. Highly recommended.

42flanker19 Nov 2017 7:18 a.m. PST

The British presence at Mont St Jean served a vital purpose, that of adding tone to what would otherwise have been a vulgar brawl.

dibble Inactive Member19 Nov 2017 12:46 p.m. PST

I'm Reading Hussey's 2nd volume now, and as I see things so far, It's pretty good going with a good detailed explanation of the Hal positioning of 17,000 odd troops there and the correspondence between the Duke and Blucher on the 17/18th. Also, he comments on the drubbing the French lancers got at the hands of the heavies at Genappe and that there was no pell-mell retreat of the British army from Quatre Bras, as depicted in some Victorian paintings and novels.

So far the book is good but as I read, the battle is about to commence so I'll reserve my assessment till the end.

By the way, There is an excellent map on page 58 & 59 but is let down by the fact that it is over two pages thus there's the crease in the middle. Shame it wasn't a fold-out map instead.

Paul :)

By John 5419 Nov 2017 3:46 p.m. PST

Not once, but twice, I find myself agreeing with Brech! I'm sorry, I go to the library with my service revolver…….

there seems to be a need to add subtitles, incorporating 'New' 'truth' 'unseen' etc, etc. See 'Waterloo, new perspectives' which was anything but. and 'Waterloo, the German victory' more nonsense. But, it may be publishers think you need these 'hooks' to sell another book on Waterloo. Also, I think the majority of us on here know the, ahem, 'myths' of Waterloo. 'The Prussians were there' we know, 'The Prussian involement was very important to victory' We know, Wellington said as much the night after the battle, We know Maitlands brigade was supported by the Dutch, et all.

Also, I agree with Brech on Husseys book, (i'm not pretentious enough to call it a 'study' or a 'work') I think it's excellent.

S'all, peace out!


4th Cuirassier20 Nov 2017 11:57 a.m. PST

The mystery of Waterloo and of 1815 for me is why the Prussian performance was so indifferent. Marching great, fighting not so much.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP20 Nov 2017 12:17 p.m. PST

I think the surprise is that the Netherlands Army did so much better than anticipated, rather than any combat failings by the Prussians.

Thanks for the prompt on Hussey's two volume book. For some reason I overlooked it….ordered tonight!

Nitpickergeneral13 Jan 2018 6:02 a.m. PST

Pen and Sword books have this in their latest email, and it's 5 pounds cheaper than amazon. Their blurb says that sources include previously sealed French archive material.

As a guide, has anyone read other works by the author?

Brechtel19813 Jan 2018 6:12 a.m. PST

Yes, and I'm not impressed.

Wu Tian13 Jan 2018 6:31 a.m. PST

I have read Dawson's books about cavalry, very nice contents, highly recommend.
But you need to be careful with some typos, they might be the faults of editors.

His books about Quatre Bras and Wavre are very informative too, they contained some new information about the French casaulties, you may differ with him about these figures (like me), but they gave a new light to this.

von Winterfeldt13 Jan 2018 10:56 a.m. PST

One of the very few who visits archives and conducts archvial research, I bought several books and don't regret it.

Though Belle Alliance is not high on my agenda, I will buy this book

dibble Inactive Member13 Jan 2018 2:40 p.m. PST

TMP link

Paul :)

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