The Seeds of Defeat
THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO.
By Jeremy Black.
Random House. 236 pp. $26
The Duke of Wellington’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo, fought in Belgium in June 1815, has become synonymous with utter defeat. But Wellington himself noted the difficulty of explaining this historic encounter: “Some individuals may recollect all the little events of which the great result is the battle won or lost,” he later remarked, but none can recall their exact order or timing, “which makes all the difference as to their value or importance.”
British military historian Jeremy Black has solved the conundrum by synthesizing competing accounts into a...