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Publisher's Summary

The terrible conflict that dominated the mid-19th century, the Crimean War, killed at least 800,000 men and pitted Russia against a formidable coalition of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. It was a war for territory, provoked by fear that if the Ottoman Empire were to collapse then Russia could control a huge swathe of land from the Balkans to the Persian Gulf. But it was also a war of religion, driven by a fervent, populist and ever more ferocious belief by the Tsar and his ministers that it was Russia's task to rule all Orthodox Christians and control the Holy Land.  

Orlando Figes' major new book reimagines this extraordinary war, in which the stakes could not have been higher and which was fought with a terrible mixture of ferocity and incompetence. It was both a recognisably modern conflict - the first to be extensively photographed, the first to employ the telegraph, the first 'newspaper war' - and a traditional one, with illiterate soldiers, amateur officers and huge casualties caused by disease. Drawing on a huge range of fascinating sources, Figes also gives the lived experience of the war, from that of the ordinary British soldier in his snow-filled trench to the haunted, gloomy, narrow figure of Tsar Nicholas himself as he vows to take on the whole world in his hunt for religious salvation.

©2010 Orlando Figes (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very detailed account

Great in-depth story of the Crimean War. The Author did and excellent job also of detailing the events leading up to the war and of the consequences of the war.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding History of the Crimean War

Extremely detailed history of the causes, consequences of the Crimean War. It is the extreme detail that gives this book its interest. From riots between Eastern Orthodox and Catholics in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 1846 to the daily life of the soldiers on the front lines at the siege of Sevastopol, the scope of the book is breath taking. The similarities with the current great power maneuvering in the Middle East are hard to deny. I was really left with the impression that it might have been a good thing for France and Great Britain to allow Russia to take over the Ottoman Empire. Much of the horrors of the 20th Century could have been avoided. In any case, there is much cause for fruitful thought as result of reading this book. I highly recommend it. Unless, of course, you hate detailed history. In which case, avoid it like the plague.

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  • N. Flynn
  • 10-17-18

Sheds light on a very misunderstood war

Interesting to find out about a war that episodes of which are still resonent in today's world. Russia may lost the war, but they won the peace (primarily due to complacency of the allies apparently).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful