Book Review – Prelude to Waterloo, Quatre Bras, The French Perspective



The author has produced the most interesting account of the vital battle that preceded the main battles of Waterloo. He has based his review on French primary sources that have never been published before in English and the book has been published to mark the 200th anniversary of the battle. Naturally, the French view of Quatre Bras differs in several respects from the widely read English accounts and reviews.

The author has upset that comfortable and convenient view by using French accounts to take a fresh view and the stimulating result will be enjoyed by readers. The resulting account is not a simple “we wuz robbed” French view of the type that is periodically offered by French historians. What the author presents is a balanced view of how events built to the first serious contact of forces at Quatre Bras and how that key skirmish influenced the two large set piece encounters between Wellington and his Allies with Napoleon’s forces at Ligny and at Waterloo.

The author has produced a balanced view together with fresh insight. The reader will achieve a broader base of views and be better able to draw conclusions. This is therefore an important book and a timely publication.

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