Yes, a book on the life of Cavalié Mercer is underway!
Mercer’s famous “Journal of the Waterloo Campaign” was first published in 1870 by William Blackwood & Sons. Since then numerous editions, reprints and translations have been published with Introductions, Edits, Afterwords and Abbreviations. Some of these make great reading, some less so, but Mercer’s fine prose shines through.
Mercer’s Journal is considered by many to be the very finest first-hand account of any military campaign, ever. But despite the wonderful scope of Mercer’s Journal, he only shares some of his campaign experiences, and it represents a very small fraction of his life.
All men who fought at Waterloo had lives, genuinely interesting lives that marked them out as individuals and made them what they were. Their lives weren’t just a rank, or a note in the Waterloo Roll Call.
For many years Mercer’s Journal was the most quoted source in secondary accounts of the battle, and despite the dramatic increase in availability of first-hand accounts many authors still reach for Mercer’s remarkable observations and descriptions.
There has been a recent tendency to question some of Mercer’s statements. Celebrity status can prove fragile, but just how fair and true are these comments, questions and controversies?
Using extensive research in known and previously unknown archives at home and abroad, digging up missed and never-before examined detail, a fresh analysis of the RHA at Waterloo and of Mercer’s contemporaries, this book will shine the spotlight on Mercer like never before.
To understand a man, you need perspective. His upbringing, his education, his early experiences, his relationships with family, friends, fellow officers and the establishment. Mercer was caught up in a heroic epoch, a whirlwind that he could not control, but one in which he has left his fabulous story which must be told.
Life is busy, and quality is all, so no promises on the timing of publication just yet. In the meantime you can buy the book of Mercer’s paintings here.