Crimea

Narrated by: Malk Williams
Length: 20 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (204 ratings)

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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

What listeners say about Crimea

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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.

12 people found this helpful

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Exactly as advertised

I enjoyed listening quite a bit. Though consider myself fairly well informed on European history, other than "The Charge of the Light Brigade" the Crimean War had been a lacunum in my understanding. Figes' account is comprehensive without being exhausting. More useful than just background for an eventual Jeopardy! championship the especially excellent final chapter, in which the author shows the war root cause of many issues still with us today was quite enlightening.

4 people found this helpful

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Interesting Read, But . . .

Having read extensively on the Crimean War years ago, I was aware of the general outline of events. Even so, I found it really challenging to keep up with all the minute details, and found myself constantly rewinding what I had just heard in an effort to truly grasp all of the information. This may well be one of those books that is better read than listened to. That's NOT a knock against the book, just an observation of how hard it could be to keep on top of the intricacies of politics, players, events. The narrator's very working-class English accent was at times a little tough for American ears to follow, but again that's meant as an observation, not as a criticism. If you REALLY want to get deep into the details of this often-forgotten war, this is the book for you!

4 people found this helpful

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Solid Book on the Subject

Not knowing much about the conflict, I was interested in finding out all the details I could on the subject in one book. Orlando Figes, certainly does that and leaves no stone unturned on the subject. From great descriptions of all the historical actors and their stories. To setting up the historical and regional context for both before and after the war, which I personally found as interesting and if not more than the conflict itself. The war, is broken down into all it's events and stages in great detail, gives the reader not only a general's view but also that of the enlisted soldier. Very detailed but not enough to bore you with figures. Last of all, the book is well written and so will most certainly be given anther read. ​

1 person found this helpful

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What school never taught

All of the authors books on Russia are exhaustively researched, well written and shed light on Russia that most Americans were never taught. Narration is superb. Everyone interested in cutting geopolitics should read. Very well done

1 person found this helpful

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A brilliant linking of great events.

Crimean War unfortunately remains unknown even to some of the modern theory bound historians. With his usual vigourous and insightful holistic analysis of a local historical event, Orlando Figes links it to the shattering global changes the Great War brought about. As usual when it comes to all so-called great events, it was precipitated by the hypocrisy, gross incompetence and the pusillanimity of the 'Great Powers'. Documentary evidence of this has not been forthcoming largely because most historians were all too keen to explain historical events in terms of some putative intensions of the decision-makers involved and dragging in the unpredictability of its outcome when an event has been initiated. Professor Figes illumines the past by drawing our attention to the foibles and frailties of the historial 'greats', and one sees clearly how unwise it is to expect integrity and competence either from the democratic or the autocratic unless those two qualities are embodied in our 'leaders'. Alas! Then as now, we can be depended on to make wrong choices, going for the packing and wrapping rather than the content. The only difference being that the buffoons of yore often had impeccable manners while their modern counterparts are mere cunning yokels.

The reading is good, and I am delighted to recommend this wonderful book to anyone who would care to see how today is shaped by the past events. It is nothing short of a revealation to anyone with a modicum of curiosity, and such an illumination
cannot be achieved in a few pages, nor without offering the reader ample background material. I am very happy I bought this book, and shall read it many times.

1 person found this helpful

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An important forgotten part of European history.

One more time Brittain finds an enemy and rallies the world to fight it's war.

2 people found this helpful

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too much

great detail but there is a point when it becomes too much. it seems the author just had to include every detail

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent and highly detailed reassessment

Figes provides a much needed reassessment of the origins, conduct, and aftermath of the Crimean War. His work provides badly needed perspective from Russian, French, and Turkish sources, which helps address the anglophile bias that plagues most studies or book chapters on the subject in most other English language histories. While the title probably hopes to draw readers interested precedents for Putin's aggression against Ukraine, the cautionary tale hits closer to home. First, Western powers convinced of their greatness and unconcerned with their ignorance of the rest of the world should be very cautious about choosing a foreign policy advocated by the loudest chicken hawk in the press or politics. Second, the assumption that a middle eastern country is a hotbed of tolerance and freedom only needing a war to unleash it is a mirage. Third, if a country has created a crisis and wants you to join it in war in response, then that country is not an ally worth having. The origins of this war are hardly perpetual Russian aggression, but that does not mean Russian foreign policy is never aggressive. Russia's urgent need for modernization and representative government are there too, but not something one needs this book to discover.
The narrator is quite good overall, but made an odd choice to read certain figures in a generic "not Western" accent, but one that is definitely not Russian or Turkish. I'm not sure that reading Russian leaders' writings with a Russian accent would have enriched the reading, but the miscellaneous one did not help.

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  • Fingers
  • 01-31-19

Great listen overall

Got this audiobook just to get an education on an event I had very little prior understanding of. This really didn’t disappoint and gave a good amount of detail on the events and protagonists in this war, it’s build up and after effects. The book is really well written I thought although I did not start with any knowledge of the conflict. The narration was good too...I wasn’t sure at first but Malk William's voice has a nice quality to it for this type of book. My only slight gripe at the narration was the accents that were put onto every quote he read. Some accents were excellent but some were a little OTT especially the French, which featured regularly, and was like something off ‘allo ‘allo.

6 people found this helpful

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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).

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. M. B. Andrews
  • 10-16-19

Missing action

Completetly missed out the actions in the Baltic, OK not Crimea but the same war

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  • postage
  • 09-27-19

good insite into this bit of history

an intresting book on a bit of history I didn't know enough about would recommend it

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  • Jem
  • 08-08-19

An epic listen

I think I should have learnt the basics of the Crimean war before listening to this book because it is so detailed, I struggled to comprehend the bigger picture but still learnt a lot. I thought the narrator pitched his style just right, though perhaps some may not like the imitation of accents in a non fiction book (there were a lot).