On Maps and Manoeuvres: The Challenge of Mapping Waterloo


  • Kenton White University of Reading


This paper looks at the historical inertia which builds once a description of a battle has been put on paper and how that leads to that description being accepted unquestioningly and passed down from historian to historian, unaltered, without ever being touched by original research. By using original documents, this article uses an example from possibly the best documented battle of all times: Waterloo. This example shows how difficult it is to replicate a battle in a map. It also shows how, in some circumstance, the published maps are misleading rather than informative.

Author Biography

Kenton White, University of Reading

KENTON WHITE is a Sessional Lecturer in Politics, International Relations and Strategic Studies at the University of Reading. He is soon to submit his PhD in Strategic Studies, researching British defence policy and the NATO commitment in the last ten years of the Cold War. He studies military history and defence policy from the Napoleonic Wars to today, with a particular interest in military logistics. Prior to entering academia he was the Managing Director of a computer animation company.