5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A lively and engaging account of a largely overlooked war,
This review is from: Crimea: The Great Crimean War 1854-1856 (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.