Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Waterloo Conspiracy

In this day and age we are not surprised how the truth is often massaged and spun by politicians and other famous figures so I suppose it should not be a surprise that historical figures like the Duke of Wellington were equally as guilty.

One of my union reps has recently moved on to pastures new but before she left she bought me a copy of Peter Hofschröer's Wellington's Smallest Victory as a thank you because I "liked history and paint toy soldiers" :-)

The book is about Captain William Siborne's 'Great Model of Waterloo' (now residing in the National Army Museum) and how his quest for accuracy came up against both the Iron Duke and the Establishment. A really interesting book you cannot but help feel for Siborne as the whole process brought him financial distress and ruined his health.

Regarding Wellington, Hofschröer does tend to lean towards the Duke covering up a couple of mistakes to maintain his reputation (that in my opinion if correct make the victory even more impressive) but also states that Wellington's desire to play down the Prussian role in the battle may well have been for political reasons in a Europe still in turmoil in the post-Napoleon era. Worth a read if you have any interest in the period.

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