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The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905 (Guide To...)

The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905 (Guide To...) [Kindle Edition]

Geoffrey Jukes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"I am most favorably impressed by the Essential Histories series on the American Civil War. Written by four of the best historians of the military course of the war, these volumes provide a lucid and concise narrative of the campaigns in both the Eastern and Western theaters as well as penetrating analyses of strategies and leadership. Ideal for classroom use or fireside reading."

Product Description

The Russo-Japanese war saw the first defeat of a major European imperialist power by an Asian country. When Japanese and Russian expansionist interests collided over Manchuria and Korea, the Tsar assumed Japan would never dare to fight. However, after years of planning, Japan launched a surprise attack on the Russian Port Arthur, on the Liaoyang Peninsula in 1904 and the war that followed saw Japan win major battles against Russia.

This book explains the background and outbreak of the war, then follows the course of the fighting at Yalu River, Sha-ho, and finally Mukden, the largest battle anywhere in the world before the First World War.

The Osprey Guide To... series is a reworking of the popular Essential Histories series, now available as non-illustrated eBooks at a fantastic low price.

The maps and text remain the same, giving a strong historical overview of some of the most important conflicts and theatres of war from the ancient world through to modern times.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9431 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (4 Jun 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KSG0G64
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #127,589 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russo-Japanese war 9 Nov 2002
This book was very well recieved as i had been scouring the bookshelves of shops for months to find an interesting and comprehensive history of this war. it is very well written and includes all information neccessary- and much more. it ranges from the origins of the conflict right through to the aftermath and consequences. it also gives detailed acounts and contentent of the soldiers equipment, biographies of important figuers and fantasticly detailed maps helping to add another dimesnion to the book. it is very interesting to read and i was very pleasantly surprised by it. this book gets my full, undivided backing and is a must buy for history enthusiasts of all genres and earas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant intro to this little known war 29 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great introduction to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. A little known modern war with big implications for Russia. Excellent maps. It is pretty clear from reading it why Russia lost.
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7 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but you can find better 18 Oct 2003
By Corrado
This is not at all a bad book; generally very readable, clear and covering the key points and the development of the war, this volume is clearly recommendable for those interested in a general overview of this conflict to an intermidiate level.
Used in conjunction with parts of Nish's other volume "The Anglo-Japanese Alliance" and with Ute Mehnert's "Deutschland, Amerika und die Gelbe Gefahr", you can form a very detailed picture of the conflict, the issues at stake and the large contextual frame involving all the major powers, gaining from greater precision and much wider perspective than you can obtain from this book alone. And, of course, if you can't read German, well, though; go and learn it! There is a (scholarly) world beyond the borders of the anglophone states, so get used to resistance to Anglo-saxon cultural imperialism!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Summary of a Neglected War 23 Oct 2002
By R. A Forczyk - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Despite having been in the military history business for over three decades and producing more than 500 titles, Osprey Publishing had been noticeably lacking in its coverage of the seminal Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Indeed, Osprey has spent considerable ink covering and re-covering marketable but historically insignificant conflicts like the Zulu War of 1879. Finally, Osprey has decided to cover this important but heretofore neglected war in Geoffrey Jukes' latest volume in the Essential History Series. In short, this is a very good summary of the conflict. Jukes is primarily a Second World War historian but he is creditably able to cover this subject, although with more depth on the Russian side than the Japanese side.
The Russo-Japanese War 1904-1905 begins with a short introduction, a chronology, and a section on the background to the war. The one-and-a-half-page section on opposing sides is totally inadequate and does nothing to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian and Japanese military forces. The outbreak of the war is covered in only four paragraphs, which is also ridiculously short (if size constraint is such an issue in Osprey volumes, why is there so much blank white space in this volume - shouldn't pages be filled with text or information rather than nothing?). Despite the author's inauspicious beginning, the 52-page campaign narrative is solid and professional. There are a total of ten maps in this volume: the theater of war, the Battles of the Yalu River, Nanshan, Te-Li Ssu Fanggou, Liaoyang, Sha-Ho, and Mukden, the siege of Port Arthur, the voyage of the Russian Baltic Fleet and the Battle of Tsushima. The artwork and photographs that accompany the text are mostly mediocre, but do add slightly to the narrative. The final sections covering portraits of a soldier, Russian domestic turmoil, the impact on neutral China and the final diplomatic solution to the war are modestly successful in their intended purposes. Jukes at least bothers to list casualty figures for each side, but there is no mention of the economic impact. Jukes continues his trademark neglect of bibliographical material by listing only eight sources at the end (against the typical 20 source or so listed in most other volumes of this series). Furthermore, it appears that Jukes has based much of this volume on the Warner's Tide at Sunrise book, without conducting any new research of his own.
The Russo-Japanese War was an important conflict because it was the first major war of the 20th Century and the first defeat of a European power by an Asian one. Although many precursors of First World War military technology - such as machineguns, quick-firing guns and barbed wire - were used in battle in Manchuria, the war was not decided by technology. Indeed, both sides had roughly equal access to the same types of weapons. Certainly indecisive leadership and poor command control were a major weakness of the Russian side, particularly against the aggressive Japanese. However, it would be too superficial to claim that the Russians were mostly cowardly idiots and the Japanese were bold geniuses. Jukes alludes to the underlying cause behind Russian military weaknesses: illiteracy and inadequate education. Whereas Japanese conscripts were 100% literate and capable of operating modern equipment, only about 20% of Russian soldiers and sailors could read or write. Imperial Russia may have been larger in terms of land and population, but these potential strengths were greatly diluted by widespread ignorance and unfamiliarity with modern technology. This phenomenon of illiteracy undermining military effectiveness also appeared in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, where fewer than 50% of Iraqi soldiers were literate.
Jukes registers several other interesting points about the war, such as the exceptionally good treatment afforded to prisoners of war by both sides. Unlike the Second World War, Japan had not yet had decades of Bushido propaganda to alter their attitudes toward defeated foes. Another interesting difference in the times was that much of the European press applauded the Japanese surprise attack on Port Arthur without a declaration of war. How different from 36 years later when Japan did the same thing at Pearl Harbor! The Japanese also benefited from a superb military intelligence infrastructure that provided them with excellent information about enemy strength and intentions, while the Russians suffered from lack of information about their foe. Again, this was a major difference from the Second World War, where Japanese intelligence was generally mediocre but the Russians had developed a superb spy organization (obviously one of the lessons that Russia did take to heart). Japan also fought with a more realistic sense of the odds against it in the Russo-Japanese War and was eager to make gains and seek peace before attrition robbed them of their limited resources; in the Second World War the Japanese failed to make realistic cost-benefit calculations and based too much of their strategy on fantasies. Finally, Jukes also points out some of the few Russian successes, like the raids of the cruiser squadron from Vladivostok and Colonel Tretyakov's dogged defense at Port Arthur. The Russians were not all clowns and one wonders how their cause might have fared if the Tsarist regime could have rewarded combat merit with promotion. Indeed, the promotion of court sycophants over real fighting men was a serious weakness that could be attributed to Nicholas II.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Difference Between Competent and Incompetent Militaries 23 Sep 2006
By Mike Dillemuth - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Not all books by Osprey Publishing are created equal. This book, however, is one of the better ones in the Essential Histories series. The book is well organized and follows a clear chronological path. The largest chapter in the book deals with Russian and Japanese maneuvers. Although the last four chapters are very short, they fit perfectly into the chronological order of the book. They also provide information on the less well covered areas of the war such as its impact on Chinese civilians, Russian diplomacy at the peace talks, and the domestic impact of this conflict in both Japan and Russia.

As with all Osprey Publications, this book has color maps of the major battles, such as Sha-ho, Mukden, and Tsushima. These maps contain just the right amount of information. Unlike maps found in other books, these are not cluttered with extraneous and confusing details. The book also has a nice selection of photos and drawings to compliment the narrative.

The author does a good job of illustrating how a professional and well disciplined Japanese military was able to soundly defeat the overconfident, and thus unprofessional Russian military. In the Battle of San-De-Pu, the Russian 14th Division launched its attack a day late and at the wrong village. As a result, its men were mown down. At another battle, the Russians failed to dig defensive entrenchments. The Russians preferred to wait and use conscripted Chinese labor for these duties. The Japanese, however, made their own entrenchments and were thus, much better at surviving defensive battles. The Japanese appear to have held an enormous advantage over the Russians in the area of espionage. This war was fought in China. As occupying armies go, the Japanese were far less onerous than the Russians. The Russians alienated the Chinese population by destroying their homes and stealing their livestock. This resulted in far greater human intelligence for the Japanese. The Russian navy had its share of problems as well. Japanese spies in Singapore knew the Russian 2nd Pacific Squadron was on its way. However, any sense of speed was lost at Cam Ranh Bay when Admiral Rozhestvensky found that one of his ships, the Alexander III, did not have enough coal. He had to wait several days for the arrival of the 3rd Squadron and its coal supplies. Thus, Admiral Togo had even more time to set a trap. Clearly, the Japanese were able to routinely beat the Russians in both speed and tempo.

Bottom line: the book is an easy read that tells the story of the war in a clear and chronological fashion. The narrative is complimented by excellent maps and good quality photos. The book also provides insight into how this war affected future conflicts. The military observers of the western powers were too biased in favor of the Japanese. They drew the wrong lessons from the war in their after action reports. The French learned to favor the "offensive." A tactic that yielded catastrophic losses in World War I. For their part, the Japanese began to believe in the superiority of the "spiritual" aspects of war over "material" matters. No doubt, this was a precursor to their overconfident attitude in the early days of World War II.
18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars short 18 Mar 2004
By George Dimitriou - Published on
This book does give an alright over view of the war, however it lacks any meat. The only battle that has any depth is tsushima. The land battles were not described very well, and it was hard to see what tactics led to sucess or failure. The book is good for information, or if your writing a paper, but not a whole lot of content for the military historian. The author does explain some of the flaws of the rusian army, and some of the after effects of the war, however the book seems to be too short for anything more. The book also was a little on the dull side.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very suitable intro 11 Oct 2010
By J. Hundley - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I picked this up looking for a short introduction to the war - something to give me a concise and cogent overview - and this fit the bill admirably. The consequences of this war turned out to be far more significant than anyone was to realize at the time, which makes having a nodding understanding of the conflict all the more important. And now I have it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to this conflict 26 Aug 2007
By Yoda - Published on
This book is a good introduction to this conflict for its 96 page length. Not very in-depth but for 96 pages what can you expect. If you are looking to get up to speed on this conflict in about 90 minutes of reading this book is excellent.
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