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Crimea: The Great Crimean War 1854-1856 Paperback – 2 Nov 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (2 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349112843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349112848
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 38,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Trevor Royle's new history tells the whole story of the Crimean War and puts it in its context, drawing on a variety of new sources as well as representing classic accounts. Overall it is a powerful piece of narrative history. The Battle of the Alma, for instance, after which so many London streets and pubs have been named, is described in a vivid chapter, a "victory that owed everything to the resolve and courage of the British infantrymen." Advancing up a heavily defended hill, one young officer later reported "the fire was so hot that you could hardly conceive it possible for anything the size of a rabbit not to be killed." Royle then adds: "Minutes later he was shot in the cheek, losing 23 teeth and part of his tongue." This balance of excitement and terror is well captured throughout the work. (The Irish journalist William Russell reported a different perspective on the battle: "There was a sickening, sour, fetid smell everywhere and the grass was slippy with blood.")

Royle gives powerful accounts of the famous military engagements, the Charge of the Light Brigade and Thin Red Line at the Battle of Balaklava, the "ferocious hand-to-hand fighting" of the Battle of Inkerman. But he also places these flashes of military adventure in the larger context. This was a war fought in many places other than the Crimea--Royle's chapter on the fighting in Armenia, for instance, is entitled "the forgotten war", and there were also naval campaigns in the Baltic and Pacific. The British suffered casualties of 19,584 overall, but only one tenth of this number actually died on the battlefield; the rest died of disease. Royle's chapter on Florence Nightingale and her nurses recaptures the horror her contemporaries felt at hearing about the dreadful conditions of the Field Hospitals. Reading these accounts it is amazing that any wounded man survived at all: "Surgeons operated with unsterilised instruments, wounds were dressed with lint from discarded linen and operating tables were encrusted with the blood and detritus from previous patients." The whole book is a vivid and definitive read. --Adam Roberts --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Crimea is a tour de force, a splendidly written account of the diplomatic and military blunders that signalled the end of what promised to be - in the early 1950s - a century of peace (Julian Critchley, LITERARY REVIEW)

His book is gripping, with the momentum of the cavalry charges that he describes so well (Norman Stone)

Trevor Royle's new history tells the whole story of the Crimean War and puts it in its context, drawing on a variety of new sources as well as representing classic accounts. Overall it is a powerful piece of narrative history. The Battle of the Alma, for instance, after which so many London streets and pubs have been named, is described in a vivid chapter, a "victory that owed everything to the resolve and courage of the British infantrymen." Advancing up a heavily defended hill, one young officer later reported "the fire was so hot that you could hardly conceive it possible for anything the size of a rabbit not to be killed." Royle then adds: "Minutes later he was shot in the cheek, losing 23 teeth and part of his tongue." This balance of excitement and terror is well captured throughout the work. (The Irish journalist William Russell reported a different perspective on the battle: "There was a sickening, sour, fetid smell everywhere and the grass was slippy with blood.") Royle gives powerful accounts of the famous military engagements, the Charge of the Light Brigade and Thin Red Line at the Battle of Balaklava, the "ferocious hand-to-hand fighting" of the Battle of Inkerman. (Adam Roberts, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW)

The Crimean War was an endlessly complicated affair, for which Royle is the perfect interpreter. He is as much at ease in diplomacy as he is in diplomatic affairs, and he cuts through the complexities with cool judgment and a clear narrative (Bruce Anderson, SCOTSMAN)

Thorough and scholarly ... an exemplary history of an unnecessary war (Frank McLynn, NEW STATESMAN)

Royle has written an excellent account of a complicated subject. Impeccably researched and elegantly written, it puts Britain's contribution to this much derided war into its proper context (Saul David, DAILY TELEGRAPH)

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Format: Paperback
Trevor Royle has perhaps pigeon holed himself as a military historian with his works on the English Civil War and the Wars of the Roses, it is a shame because it denies him the recognition due as an excellent all round historian. His work on the Crimean War has a great deal to recommend it; it is in the first instance very accessible to all levels of reader. Secondly it works really hard to provide good access to primary source material whilst not letting this overwhelm the narrative. Third the book offers a much better contextualisation of the war then many other works, covering the war in the Baltic, in Asia Minor and the political manoeuvrings in Vienna, Washington and Berlin alongside the internal politics of Britain and France. Fourth Royle places the war chronologically between Waterloo and Ypres and really seeks to identify the "Janus-like" quality of the war that ended the era of Waterloo and heralded the warfare of the First World War.
Royle's style is very much a narrative and he works primarily through the individuals involved, this forms the basis for an engaging account. Whilst he does cover foreign developments, the work is very anglo-centric (which perhaps accounts for its accessibility). Royle is perhaps gentler than some historians working on the subject, avoiding the debate that surrounds the charge of the light brigade and in general provides a positive portrayal of Raglan as a man at least who in common with so many others hadn't caught up with the developments in warfare. Royle is more critical of the infrastructure of the army in the period than anything else. The inclusion of the other theatres of war also added significantly to the readability of the book.
I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the period and who has been put off by some of the drier histories of the period.
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Format: Paperback
This is a good piece of work on the subject and covers the political and diplomatic side of this period very well and with such dry subject matter is written well enough to be an interesting and informative read.

The thing that lets this book down is the coverage of the fighting on the ground, command and control etc. here for me it is a bit of a flop, the Battle of Balaclava being completed in a few pages, very sad indeed.

If you are looking for an in depth read (that is easy to follow and interesting) of the politics and diplomacy surrounding this period this may well be the premier book in its class, if however you are looking for coverage of the war on the ground (and perhaps even at sea) you will have to look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback
Bought this title in anticipation of a visit to the Crimean Penninsular. It is a thoroughly readable book with lots of diplomatic and military detail. I like all that but it may be too much for some.

As I visited Balaclava, Sebastapol and the various sites the accuracy of the narrative was demonstrated again and again.

By chance the week I was there was the 255 year anniversary of the BAttle of the Alma River. Some local enthusiasts staged a re-enactment. Most of the spectators were disappointed but I could see how accurately they were staging the piece of the battle that they had chosen.

Brilliant
Made my Holiday
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Format: Hardcover
I found this new account on the Crimean War by Trevor Royle to be a very enjoyable and easy to read book. The story was well written and the narrative just seemed to flow along, taking the reader on an exciting trip through history. Although, as previously mentioned, the author does not spend a great amount of time on describing the battles of this conflict, he does manage to cover most aspects of this terrible war. I did find out a number of things that I had not previously read in other books and his descriptions of the battles were still well presented. Throughout the book the author utilised personal accounts from a number of the participants and these seemed to fit the narrative quite well.
Trevor Royle has taken the time to give the reader a detailed account of the events leading up to the Crimean War and for once this was as enjoyable to read as the actual details of the conflict. I was fascinated by the story and at no time did I find the book boring which sometimes happens when an author starts talking about politics. I thought that maybe more maps could have been supplied but those featured were detailed enough to follow the story. A number of black and white photographs were also utilised to assist the reader follow the story. However I feel that more photos of the conflict could have been used especially since this was one of the first wars to receive so much media attention, a point mentioned many times by the author.
The book is over 500 pages long and a number of the less known battles and conflicts, both on land and sea, are covered by the author. I found that his defence of Lord Raglan was well presented and deservedly so when consideration is taken of the period and state of society from which Raglan emerged.
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Format: Paperback
This is a comprehensive account of the Crimean War that is as complete on the diplomatic and political machinations and context as on the military operations. The latter are competently covered, not just in relation to the Crimea itself but as regards Turco-Russian operations prior to involvement of the Western powers and actions in Rumania, the Baltic, the Caucuses and even the Far East. In general the civilian players are covered in greater depth than the military ones - this is not a significant disadvantage since there is already a large and accessible literature available on the latter (readers new to the topic will enjoy Cecil Woodham-Smith's classic "The Reason Why" and Christopher Hibbert's "The Destruction of Lord Raglan.") Despite the complexity of the diplomatic manoeuvrings before and during the war Mr.Royle covers this aspect entertainingly, imposing considerable clarity on a convoluted story. The only criticism of the book is the dearth of good maps, which are essential for a work of this nature, A few inadequate ones are supplied but in these days of computer-assisted graphics the reader has a right to expect something better.
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