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Oh what images the Crimean War evokes and has evoked for so many years. For myself, with scant knowledge of specific events, I well remember visiting the Officers Mess of the Royal Regiment of Wales some years ago where I stood for over an hour ignoring my hosts just gazing at the detail of the most outstanding piece of regimental silverware I have ever seen. Made of solid silver, the piece must have measured at least 3 feet by 2 feet and easily over 1 foot high. It depicted in full relief the Battle of Inkerman and showed those attacking and those defending that strategic hill. It was simply called "The Inkerman Piece."

Elsewhere, those with a far greater knowledge of the Crimean War have acclaimed this book as a great work. Of course, only those who have studied the subject in great detail can vouch for the accuracy of the content. Personally, I have taken note of the fact that the Bibliography alone runs to 7 pages and have also taken a close look at the authors and the qualifications and background they bring to the work. In this case it is very impressive.

Ian Fletcher was born in London in 1957 and comes to this work as the author of 17 books and editor of several more. His list of credits is impressive by any standards; Member of the British Commission for Military History, Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society, he also runs battlefield tours specialising in pre-20th century military history and is often found escorting clients to the Iberian Peninsular, Waterloo and the Crimea.

Natalia Ishchenko's credits are equally impressive; Born in the Crimea, she graduated from Taurida National V. I. Vernadsky University and obtained he PhD in Philology in 1989. Today she is an assistant professor at her old university and author of over 40 works encompassing literary, historical and cultural studies.

In short, these two people know their subject and have formed the perfect partnership for producing such a book. On top of all that - and in spite of the passing of 150 years since the Crimean War, the book is described by the no less a person than the Prime Minister of the present day Crimean republic as "The first accomplished mutual investigation of the events of the Crimean War of 1853-1856."

I do believe, therefore, this book will come to be seen as a great literary work - in addition to being a damned good read. It should, therefore, be seen as required reading for all those with an interest in the Crimean War in addition to anyone else who enjoys a fine read on a factual subject.

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on 29 March 2008
Any one who has an interest in the Crimean War this book is a must, it is well written and keeps you interested and wanting to know more with out getting bogged down with technical detail. It not only gives you the allies' side but the Russians too. At times it felt as though I was reading an account of a First World War battle. Was this a foretaste of what was to happen 60 years later? It makes you realize that bravery is not just one sided. Thoroughly good read.
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