1815 was the year of Waterloo, the British victory that ended Napoleon's European ambitions and ushered in a century of peace for Britain. But what sort of country were Wellington's troops fighting for? And what kind of society did they return to? Overseas, the bounds of Empire were expanding; at home the population endured the chill of economic recession. As Jane Austen busied herself with the writing of Emma, John Nash designed Regent Street and Lord's cricket ground held its first match in St John's Wood, a nervous government infiltrated dissident political movements and resorted to repressive legislation to curb free speech. Interweaving first-hand accounts of personal experiences with the major trends and events of a momentous twelve months, 1815 offers a richly engrossing picture of a year that resonates to a surprising degree with the Britain of today.