Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War

Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War

Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War

Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War

Synopsis

In 1853, the Crimean War began as an intensely romantic affair. Death or Glory is a narrative immersion into conditions during what became arguably the most tragically botched military campaign in modern European history.

Excerpt

Someone browsing through this volume in a bookstore could well be excused for wondering why the Crimean War of a century and a half ago, a war that ended five years before the American Civil War began, should attract readers today, especially since so much has already been written about it.Scores of personal accounts in several languages were published soon after the war ended, followed by numerous book-length descriptions of the war, several of them appearing as recently as the last few years in England. There are also several biographies of prominent figures who took part in this war, not least the reminiscences of Count Leo Tolstoy, who was there as a young Russian artillery officer, and whose experiences in Sevastopol did much to shape War and Peace. This war gave the world raglan sleeves, the cardigan sweater, the balaclava cap, Florence Nightingale, and the "charge of the Light Brigade," immortalized by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.But why another book about all this?

Historians might answer that this war deserves continuing attention because it changed the balance of power in Europe, weakening Russia, strengthening the imperiled Ottoman Empire, and leaving France the greatest military force in Europe, while Britain remained the greatest naval power.Austria gained strength, both Germany and Italy achieved long-awaited unification, and the United States, hardly an innocent bystander in this conflict, used its friendship with Russia to take possession of Alaska and Hawaii.Military historians might add that this war deserves our attention because despite claims by American Civil War historians to the contrary, it was the first one to be reasonably well documented by photographers; the first to take place in the age of the telegraph, the railroad, and steam-driven ships; the first in which mines played a significant role . . .

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