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The Crimean War: The Truth Behind the Myth Paperback – 3 Nov 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (3 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712636536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712636537
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 438,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Lucid and comprehensive-a vivid essay on wartime blunders and the post-war bluster that tried to hide them" (Charles King Times Literary Supplement)

"Exhaustively researched and scholarly-an exciting story and one that benefits from accounts written at the time by various soldiers and observers" (Beryl Bainbridge Guardian)

"Between these covers you will find a wholly unpretentious, terrifyingly honest breakdown of a war-exceptionally harrowing and impossible to put down" (Mick Middles Manchester Evening News)

"Ponting is both incisive and original in his account of what contemporaries called the "Russian War"" (Michael Kerrigan Scotsman)

Book Description

With maps and contemporary photographs, this vivid and important account sheds new light on this human story.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. A. Brown on 26 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
Overall I enjoyed this book, I began reading it with little to no knowledge of the subject and came out with a reasonable understanding of the war. The book is on the whole very readable which is quite an achievement considering the nature of the war - a long drawn out affair with a lack of decisive battles. There are a couple of reasons for this, firstly excellent use is made of eyewitness accounts which combined with photographs (I believe this was one of, if not the earliest wars where a photographer was present) bring the rather dismal campaign to life. Secondly the author holds nothing back in delivering a scathing portrayal of the officers (particularly those of the British) and the numerous tactical blunders made by both sides which is to some extent refreshing.

I nevertheless have a couple of problems with it, the author obviously has some very strong opinions about the conduct of certain participants - Lord Raglan and Florence Nightingale for instance - and whilst I've no doubt he's correct to emphasise the shortcomings of their actions he does take this to extremes to make his point. Florence Nightingale for instance, whilst undoubtedly not the saint she was portrayed in the media as at the time, has been reduced to some sort of egotistical monster with little to no mention of anything positive (in comparison to the new saint Mary Seacole). Furthermore there is a hugely misrepresentative argument employed to downplay her contribution by focusing solely on the death rates of the hospital at Scutari and the massive drop off as soon as she left.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By L. Davidson VINE VOICE on 4 May 2006
Format: Paperback
The Crimean War is a fascinating topic, but unfortunately Clive Ponting's history of it makes it seem like a bore. His flat,unexpressive narrative and his obsession with statistics are the main reasons for this. At no stage while reading this book did I feel immersed ,or even involved in the subject matter. This is a pity because I have read many narrative histories in the past which had the capacity almost to make me feel that I was there and which created vivid and memorable character portraits of the leading figures in the historical events.I am thinking of Adam Zamoyski's "1812", Tom Holland's "Rubicon" and Ernle Bradford's "Great Siege ,Malta 1565" in particular. Regrettably, Ponting's book doesn't even come close to emulating these evocative works . The Crimean War was a large scale human tragedy , with over 650,000 fatalities. There was a year long siege, a series of incompetent military decisions by the British High Command ,such as the ludicrous Charge of the Light Brigade and a number of large scale, bloody battles at Alma, Balaklava and Inkerman, while Florence Nightingale's activities at Scutari make for an interesting sub-plot. With all of this excitement and controversy, how come Ponting makes it all seem like a total bore ? I lost count of how many times I yawned after repeatedly encountering turgid statistics such as : "The Russians suffered about 13,000 casualties and the allies only slightly fewer. The French lost 7,500 men, The British 2,500 and the Sardinians forty". Ponting's dispassionate account provides the reader with all of the minutiae surrounding the political background to the grand- scale futility of this War, which was only ever a half-baked attempt to ward off Russian expansionism, that Britain should have stayed well clear off.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
excellent book, with many eye witness accounts.
Some different representations of more accuracy in the sequence if events
would have been nice,
some time line graphs ,diagram/ picture type of data would have been an improvement
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By A. Lynch on 31 Oct. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Present for my mother who loves it
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Swindells on 7 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like this writer, he tries to expose the truth. More than just the charge of the Light Brigade and Florence Nightingale.
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