Crimea by Orlando Figes
The Last Crusade (Allen Lane History)

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The terrible conflict that dominated the mid 19th century, the Crimean War killed at least 800,000 men and pitted Russia against a formidable coalition of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. It was a war for territory, provoked by fear that if the Ottoman Empire were to collapse then Russia could control a huge swathe of land from the Balkans to the Persian Gulf. But it was also a war of religion, driven by a fervent, populist and ever more ferocious belief by the Tsar and his ministers that it was Russia's task to rule all Orthodox Christians and control the Holy Land. Orlando Figes' major new book reimagines this extraordinary war, in which the stakes could not have been higher and which was fought with a terrible mixture of ferocity and incompetence. It was both a recognisably modern conflict - the first to be extensively photographed, the first to employ the telegraph, the first 'newspaper war' - and a traditional one, with illiterate soldiers, amateur officers and huge casualties caused by disease. The iconic moments of the war - the Charge of the Light Brigade, the Siege of Sebastopol, the impact of Florence Nightingale - are all here, but there is also a rich sense of the Crimea itself and the culture that was destroyed by the fighting. Drawing on a huge range of fascinating sources, Figes also gives the lived experience of the war, from that of the ordinary British soldier in his snow-filled trench, to the haunted, gloomy, narrow figure of Tsar Nicholas himself as he vows to take on the whole world in his hunt for religious salvation.

About Orlando Figes

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Orlando Figes is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of Peasant Russia, Civil War, A Peoples Tragedy, Natashas Dance and The Whisperers. He lives in Cambridge and London. His books have been translated into over twenty languages.
Published October 1, 2010 by Allen Lane. 608 pages
Genres: History, War, Travel.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Crimea

The Guardian

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Almost none of above can be gleaned from the modest name we have for this forgotten conflict – the Crimean war.

Oct 29 2010 | Read Full Review of Crimea: The Last Crusade (All...

The Guardian

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With his deep understanding of Russia and its uncomfortable position in the world, Figes elegantly underlines how the cold war of the Soviet era froze over fundamental fault lines that had opened up in the 19th century.

Oct 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Crimea: The Last Crusade (All...

The Independent

Figes calls it "the first modern war, a dress rehearsal for the trench fighting of the First World War".

Oct 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Crimea: The Last Crusade (All...

The Telegraph

If Palmerston had got his way, the allied forces would .

Oct 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Crimea: The Last Crusade (All...

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