Talk: Professor Pointon - The Battle of Waterloo

During the 200 years since "The Battle of Waterloo" was fought in Belgium on Sunday 18th June 1815, it has featured in hundreds of accounts. Some cover only that day only, some cover each of the four battles fought over the four-day campaign as former Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sought to re-establish himself by capturing Brussels.

Some specialist accounts deal with the exploits of a single fighting unit, while others concentrate on one particular engagement, but almost all have had two features in common. They recognise " Waterloo " as an iconic event , and they base themselves on the seemingly unchallengeable theory that it was a touch-and-go affair. For, as everyone " knows ", the Duke of Wellington stated that The Battle of Waterloo was a near-run thing. So, it was reported in the newspapers immediately afterwards, and the Duke never contradicted it.

Professor Pointon's account, and this book, were stimulated when, reviewing the events of that Sunday from a French angle , he felt compelled to check the actual positions of the troops involved . Looking at the hard facts of the four-day campaign in no way diminishes its nail-biting excitement, but it does tend to correct the fictions which historians have allowed to persist.

As a scientist, the author, Professor A.J. (Tony) Pointon's training is to test theories , not against how many times they have been repeated, or against the eminence of those repeating them, but against hard logic and hard facts.

Tony Pointon, a former Director of Research at the University of Portsmouth , has applied his love of problem-solving across a range from science to chess; from politics to legal cases ; from investigating whether his boyhood hero from Stratford really was the great playwright Shakespeare, ( as set out in his first book ), to ensuring that a statue of Charles Dickens , (the hero of his next book), now stands in Portsmouth , city of his birth , and which nobody thought would happen.

In "The Battle of Waterloo - a Foregone Conclusion" Professor Pointon sets out to show that, regardless of contemporary propaganda , the Battle of Waterloo was not a "near run thing" as was widely believed at the time , but a victory that was totally inevitable.


Date: 29 October 2015

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Member Ticket Price: £ 2

Non-member Ticket Price: £ 5

Buying Tickets: Tickets available on the door.