Penguin, £12.99, 575pp£11.69 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Crimea, By Orlando Figes
Friday 02 September 2011
Mainly remembered today in Victorian street and pub names, the Crimea was "the earliest example of a truly modern war" though conducted by "old codes of chivalry".
Fought on a global scale and involving the death of over 750,000 soldiers, it evolved from Waterloo-style battles such as Alma (commemorated in Paris's Alma Bridge where Diana died) to the industrial warfare of Sevastopol. In this sweeping account, Figes corrects deep misapprehensions produced by this largely faith-driven conflict.
The Charge of the Light Brigade was "in some ways a success" (casualties were less than half the 600 reported), while the wounded and sick tended by Florence Nightingale at Scutari "would have had a better chance of survival in any Turkish village".
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