Monday, November 19, 2007

Sharpe's Waterloo (Book #114)

We're down in Tulsa for Thanksgiving week with my in-laws, and my airplane book yesterday was Sharpe's Waterloo (Bernard Cornwell, 1987). It's a damn good read, maybe even good enough to go into a three-way tie with Triumph and Trafalgar as my favorite in the whole series. And if you allow for Cornwell inserting Sharpe and other fictional characters into various key moments and for a certain amount of British homerism, it's an excellent book on the battle itself, probably tied with another favorite of mine, Alessandro Barbero's The Battle. (And I don't have a problem with the homerism, since I tend to agree with Cornwell that Wellington is an underrated general who won the battle fair and square. Waterloo was the ultimate goal line stand, and the British held against long, long odds. Yes, the Prussians' arrival was important, but it was the British who held off the best Napoleon could throw at them all day, and it was the redcoats who carried the day against the supposedly irresistible force of the Imperial Guard. Picture me waving a Union Jack here for proper effect.)

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