“An excellent account of the contribution of the newly formed (and short-lived) United Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Allied victory” (HistoryOfWar.org).
The Dutch-Belgians have been variously described as inexperienced, incompetent, and cowardly, a rogue element in the otherwise disciplined Allied Army. It is only now being tentatively acknowledged that they alone saved Wellington from disaster at Quatre Bras. He had committed a strategic error in that, as Napoleon advanced, his own troops were scattered over a hundred kilometers of southern Belgium. Outnumbered three to one, the Netherlanders gave him time to concentrate his forces and save Brussels from French occupation. At Waterloo itself, on at least three occasions when the fate of the battle “hung upon the cusp,” their engagement with the enemy aided British recovery. Their commander—the Prince of Orange—has been viciously described as an arrogant fool, “a disaster waiting to happen,” and even a dangerous lunatic. According to the assessment of Wellington himself, he was a reliable and courageous subordinate.
This book reveals a new dimension of the famous campaign and includes many unseen illustrations. For the first time, a full assessment is made of the challenge which Willem I faced as king of a country hastily cobbled together by the Congress of Vienna, and of his achievement in assembling, equipping, and training 30,000 men from scratch in eighteen months.
“An extraordinary and impressively researched, written, organized and presented history that sheds considerable new light on one of the most influential battles of 19th century Europe.” —Midwest Book Review
“A fascinating read.” —Military Heritage