I have to defend Elting's book. I think it is very well written and succeeds excellently in being a primer for young readers without great knowledge of the subject. His lack of footnoting is in many ways just a symptom of the time in which he wrote. Chandler is also a fantastic read, but let's be honest, in as far as he tells us about his sources, they are largely secondary. Still, I regard Chandler's book as indispensable.
It's interesting to track the development of this. Go back to Baron Fain's account of the 1813 campaign and you will find a handful of official documents produced as 'pieces justicatives'. Go to Elting or Chandler and you will see a substantial bibliography and limited notes on the source for statements in specific chapters. Go to Rory's Salamanca book and you have chapters about the evidence that are sometimes longer than the chapters of the story itself and an even longer bibliography.
What does all this tell me ? That the general trends of individual empowerment, breakdown of deference and lack of trust all militate in favour of greater and greater self-justification by authors. I dont think that's bad, but it does make alot of additional work for the author and, I suspect, it makes non-academic publishers more reluctant to publish such works. They regard massively footnoted work as being intimidating to the general reader - and that is their attitude, whether or not we specialists agree with it. My own belief is that the answer may come in posting 'full monty' footnotes on the internet, with bibliography and some brief notes in the book itself.