Alan Forrest

Introduced by Hew Strachan

Series Editor: Hew Strachan

Waterloo by Alan Forrest launches a major Folio series on history’s greatest battles, providing a vivid account of Napoleon’s defeat by Wellington and its legacy throughout the world.



Battles are not only about tactics and strategy. They are part of European culture and have an afterlife in which they are woven into the narratives of the nations that fought in them.

Waterloo was Napoleon’s last stand: a shattering defeat that ended his imperial ambitions for ever. Alan Forrest’s acclaimed study is the first title in a new Folio series covering history’s greatest battles and their legacies. This premium Folio Society edition features 16 pages of colour images, including portraits of Napoleon and Wellington, contemporary cartoons, original maps, and European art inspired by the battle.

With redrawn maps and battle plans and an introduction by the series editor, military historian Hew Strachan, Waterloo is the definitive companion to an event whose significance echoes through the history of Britain, Europe and the world.

Production Details

Quarter-bound in blocked cloth, with textured paper sides printed with artwork by Geoff Grandfield

Set in Garamond

224 pages

16 pages of colour plates, plus 2 integrated maps

Plain slipcase

9˝ x 5¾˝

A collectable new series

‘All historians of war must nonetheless never forget that, however rich and splendid the cultural legacy of a great battle, it was won and lost by fighting, by killing and being killed.’

  1. Hew Strachan

Waterloo is not just about the battle itself, but about how it has been interpreted and remembered in the countries that provided the soldiers on the battlefield. Hew Strachan’s introduction serves as a manifesto for the series, arguing that great battles – in Winston Churchill’s words – are ‘the principal milestones in secular history’. Each book is written by an acknowledged expert, drawing on up-to-date research and newly considered archive material to cast fresh light on history’s best-known military engagements.

A conflicted legacy

Though Britain would claim it as an archetypically British victory ... there were more foreign soldiers in the Allied army – Dutch, Belgians, and especially Germans – than there were men of British stock.

In Waterloo, Alan Forrest examines the battle and its significance from all sides. In Britain, news of the victory triggered a wave of patriotic fervour, and the Duke of Wellington was lauded as a hero second only to Nelson. Forrest explores the role of Waterloo in France’s national myth – how the ‘heroic defeat’ fuelled the romantic legend of the Napoleonic Wars and the cult of Napoleon – and explains why the Prussians and Dutch paid it far less heed. With his expert, nuanced analysis, Forrest pieces together a complete picture of the battle’s legacy.


Alan Forrest is a British historian who specialises in French history, especially the period of the French Revolution and Empire, and in the history of modern warfare. He has taught at the universities of Stirling and Manchester before moving to a chair in modern history at the University of York, where he is now an emeritus professor. His publications include Napoleon’s Men: The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire (2002), The Legacy of the French Revolutionary Wars: The Nation-in-Arms in French Republican Memory (2009), Napoleon (2011) and The Death of the French Atlantic (2020). He is currently preparing (as general editor) a three-volume Cambridge History of the Napoleonic Wars.

About Hew Strachan

Hew Strachan is a British military historian and one of the world’s foremost experts on the First World War. He has held many university posts and is currently Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. His books include: The First World War (2003; new edn 2014), The First World War in Africa (2004), Clausewitz’s On War: A Biography (2007) and The Direction of War (2013).


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