Went the Day Well?: Witnessing Waterloo

Author(s): David Crane (University of Wales Lampeter)

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From Samuel Johnson Prize shortlisted author David Crane, this audiobook is about the Britain that fought the battle of Waterloo--from pauper to painter, poet to prince, soldier to civilian.

Midnight, Sunday, 17 June 1815. There was no town in England that had not sent its soldiers, hardly a household that was not holding its breath, not a family, as Byron put it, that would escape 'havoc's tender mercies' at Waterloo, and yet at the same time life inevitably went on as normal.

As Wellington's rain-sodden army retreated for the final, decisive battle, men and women in England were still going to the theatre and science lectures, still working in the fields and the factories, still reading and writing books and sermons, still painting their pictures and sitting in front of Lord Elgin's marbles as if almost 5,000 did not already lie dead.

After 10 hours of savage fighting, Waterloo would be littered with the bodies of something like 47,000 dead and wounded. Meanwhile, as the day unfolded, a whole nation, countryside and town, artisan and aristocrat, was brought together by war.

From Samuel Johnson Prize shortlisted author David Crane, Went the Day Well? is a breathtaking portrait of Britain in those moments. Moving from England to the battle and back again, this vivid, stunning freeze frame of a country on the single most celebrated day in its modern history shows Crane's full range in tracing the endless, overlapping connections between people's lives.

From private tragedies, disappointed political hopes, and public discontents to grandiloquent public celebrations and monuments, it answers Wellington's call as he rallied his troops to 'think what England is thinking of us now'.

David Crane's first book, Lord Byron's Jackal, was published to great acclaim in 1998, and his second, The Kindness of Sisters, published in 2002, is a groundbreaking work of romantic biography. In 2005 the highly acclaimed Scott of the Antarctic was published, followed by Men of War, a collection of 19th-century naval biographies, in 2009.


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A great social history of the British Isles, hour by hour on the day of the Battle of Waterloo and of the aftermath. A must read for anyone interested in this critical period in world history.

Alicia, The Book Grocer

DAVID CRANE read history and English at Oxford University before becoming a lecturer at universities in Holland, Japan and Africa. His previous books include Scott of the Antarctic, Empires of the Dead and The Kindness of Sisters. He lives in northwest Scotland.

General Fields

  • : 9780307594921
  • : Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • : Knopf Publishing Group
  • : April 2015
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : David Crane (University of Wales Lampeter)
  • : Hardback
  • : 384