Download The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo Audiobook

The Longest Afternoon: The 400 Men Who Decided the Battle of Waterloo Audiobook, by Brendan Simms Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Brendan Simms Narrator: Michael Page Publisher: Tantor Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781494576912
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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. Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Simms’ fluent and meticulously researched narrative…provides enough context to engage not only specialists but also readers unfamiliar with the broader historical background.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Simms tells the story of the combat for La Haye Sainte with the rich, gritty, eyewitness detail that it deserves…[and] offers a reminder that Waterloo was not fought just between the British and French but was very much a European battle.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Superb…microhistory at its best.”

    Washington Post

  • “Told in clear, concise, and colorful prose. The rich details and Simms’ ability to breathe life into primary source documents make this an exceptional war story.”

    Roanoke Times

  • “Through his clever ability to entwine first-person accounting with historical narrative…the book reads as a minute-by-minute eyewitness accounting…The greatest attraction of this book is its ability to tell the story of the battle in a very realistic sense…The reader is drawn into the history and given insight to feel the accountings in a very real and pragmatic fashion.”

    Military Review

  • “Simms recounts the fight from a fresh angle, delivering a thoroughly satisfying addition to a vast genre…Aided by a surprising number of letters, memoirs, and commentaries from participants, Simms writes a vivid account even readers familiar with Waterloo should not pass up.”

    Military History

  • “There are times when a relatively small number of men can make a difference…This thoroughly engrossing account will thrill all history lovers.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “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).”


  • Simms takes advantage of abundant letters and memoirs to deliver an engrossing, often gruesome nuts-and-bolts description of that afternoon. Kirkus

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About the Author

Brendan Simms is a professor of the history of international relations and a fellow at Peterhouse College, Cambridge. He is the author of Unfinest Hour, Three Victories and a Defeat, and Europe, which was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize.

About the Narrator

Michael Page has been recording audiobooks since 1984 and has over two hundred titles to his credit. He has won numerous Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award for best narration. As a professional actor, he has performed regularly since 1998 with the Peterborough Players in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He is a professor of theater at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.