Walking through the battlefields of Europe today can be a bewildering experience--not for what you see, but for what is now vanished. In his new book, German photographer Alfred Buellesbach takes readers on a photographic journey through 34 of Europe's most legendary battlefields. A hauntingly beautiful grain field in Austria was once the site of the largest battle ever between knights in armor. A seemingly pristine forest marks the spot where Americans fought the Germans in the bloody Battle of the Bulge. And sheep now graze on the grass-covered trenches of the Somme where more than 1.5 million soldiers lost their lives.
Three-hundred stunningly reproduced photographs, together with text provided by long-time Osprey editor, Marcus Cowper, tell a moving story that will stir armchair generals and travelers alike. For each battle, full-bleed panoramic battlescape photos are supplemented with candid shots of the surrounding area, including present-day cemeteries and memorials.
Battlescapes is a timelessly apt tribute to the landscapes which will forever be remembered for that brief moment in time when they were consumed by war.
The 34 battlefields pictured:
Alesia (September, 52 BC); Poitiers (October 732); Hastings (October 1066); Marchfeld (August 1278); Agincourt (October 1415); Morat (June 1476); Nieuwpoort (July 1600); Lützen (November 1632); Fehrbellin (June 1675); Blenheim (August 1704); Gadebusch (December 1712); Leuthen (December 1757); Valmy (September 1792); Austerlitz (December 1805); Jena and Auerstedt (October 1806); Leipzig (October 1813); Waterloo (June 1815); Solferino (June 1859); Vienna (September 1863); Dybbol (April 1864); Königgrätz (July 1866); Metz (September-October 1870); Sedan (September 1870); Ypres (1914-1918); Dolomites (1915-1918); Isonzo (June 1915-November 1917); Verdun (February-December 1916); The Somme (July-November 1916); Vimy Ridge (April 1917); Normandy (June 1944); Operation Market Garden (September 1944); Hürtgen Forest (September 1944-February 1945); Ardennes (December 1944-January 1945); Seelow Heights (April-May 1945)
"Through magnificent color photographs, this coffee-table book takes readers to 34 European battlefields as they appear today. Most of these locations hosted famous conflicts, e.g., Hastings, Agincourt, Blenheim, Waterloo, and Normandy. Others, such as Marchfield (1278) in what is now Austria, are not as well known. Travelers may have driven by some of these sites unknowingly, while others bear scars and extensive memorials and cemeteries. Narrator Cowper, military history editor at Osprey, provides ample background information to accompany the dominant images by Buellesbach. An alternative approach to military history, richer on mood than historical detail, this will appeal to military history enthusiasts, landscape photography buffs, and some readers considering future travels." -Library Journal (October 2009)
"This striking book marries pithy descriptions of key European battles throughout history with lush contemporary panoramic photographs of the sites of those conflicts. The battlescapes-from Hastings to Austerlitz, Waterloo to Hurtgen Forest-beckon readers to step into the frame and imagine themselves in the battle's midst, the eerily serene scenes transformed by war." -Military History Quarterly
"Viewing the panoramic landscape photos of battle sites like Murten (1476), Vienna (1683), Austerlitz (1805), and Waterloo (1815) it’s difficult to fathom how such hauntingly beautiful places were once the scene of bloody, vicious conflicts. With few notable exceptions—Verdun (1916), for example—the scars to the landscape have long since disappeared, and cemeteries and memorials (if any) provide the only reminder of the terrible events that once took place at these now pristine locales." - Jason Zasky, Failure Magazine
"Alfred Buellesbach and Marcus Cowper's Battlescapes: A Photographic Testament to 2,000 Year of Conflict will reach into general-interest as well as military libraries, gathering over 200 images of major world battlefields taken by a leading landscape photographer and presented in an oversized collection of panoramas. More than just a photo album, though, the accompanying history of battles and events is invaluable." -The Bookwatch (January 2010)
"These photographs are of the battlefields as they are today and brought to us with superlative images that cover nearly two feet from one side of the page to the other. In amongst the images of the battlefield are those of the memorials and cemeteries that dot the landscape; especially in the battles of the last century. Each entry is accompanied by a short history of the event and its significance to history. It is an outstanding book on how these places are today and one that I can easily recommend to you." -Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness / modelingmadness.com (February 2010)
"The basic, straightforward nature of these contemporary landscapes lend to the viewer’s impulse to imagine the horrors that once took place on these grounds. Time has caused the signs of previous battles to vanish; only man-made monuments or fortresses suggest the specifications. One is encouraged to conceptualize the location’s historical events. These beautiful, untouched landscapes were at one point blood stained and littered with bodies. The contrast of the present beauty with previous ugliness makes for an interesting allusion to the overall cycles of history." - Tara Sellios, Boston Photography Focus (January 2010)