In 1815, the deposed emperor Napoleon returned to France and threatened the already devastated and exhausted continent with yet another war. Near the small Belgian municipality of Waterloo, two large, hastily mobilized armies faced each other to decide the future of Europe-Napoleon's forces on one side, and the Duke of Wellington on the other.
With so much at stake, neither commander could have predicted that the battle would be decided by the Second Light Battalion, King's German Legion, which was given the deceptively simple task of defending the Haye Sainte farmhouse, a crucial crossroads on the way to Brussels. In The Longest Afternoon, Brendan Simms recounts how these four-hundred-odd riflemen beat back wave after wave of French infantry until they were finally forced to withdraw, but only after holding up Napoleon for so long that he lost the overall contest. Their actions alone decided the most influential battle in European history.
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by Michael Drout
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"The Battle of Waterloo is an iconic event that stands out as one of the most pivotal, bloodiest, and most celebrated military contests of the nineteenth century. With typical British confidence and precision, Michael Page narrates this detailed tribute to the Second Light Battalion, King's (the King of England) German Legion, which stood at the crossroads of Haye Sainte on June 18, 1815, defending a small farmhouse against wave after wave of Napoleon's best soldiers long enough to tip the tide of battle to the side of the allies. Page delivers the many German surnames and phrases sprinkled throughout the text with exacting precision, which only seems right because without those 400 brave German riflemen it's a distinct possibility that many English might have ended up speaking French (again). B.P. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine"
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