And again: The Crimea - Pen & Swords Conflict in the Crimea

Confliczt in the CrimeaAnd again: The Crimea
Pen & Swords Conflict in the Crimea

Whenever one is interested in military history there is no way to get around Pen & Sword Books - and thus it happend to me several times that I found myself reading books from this publisher.

Not only did I find material on my special interests such as, the catalogue of P&S showed me so many interesting books that I think I will use in further studies and some titels are so interesting that I will ready them anyway.


Confliczt in the CrimeaTo begin with – the technical quality and the paperproducts used are marvellous and a pleasure to hold in hand – I do love books that are 'real' books – there is nothing that can replace a hardcover! And the beautiful covers even makes it a pleasure to look at it (Woodvilles „Relief of the Light Brigade“)

Another book about British Soldiers in the Crimea – there´s not many a nation that wrote so many books about this war, even though the British were junior partners in this conflict. After having read many books about this subject, I did not expect to find out very much new. Very snobby – I admit!

The book astonishingly starts with a Dramatis Personae – that was something really new. Each person quoted in the book is mentioned  – a pleasure.

The book then follows the timeline of the original events and continues until the arrival of the British troops in England and the aftermath of it.

The events are shown from the British point of view. About other nations there is mentioned just as much as necessary to cover the subject.

Richards is able to entertain through his straigth and clear style and chains you to the book. There were moments I just did not want to stop reading due to its good style and the well brought facts.

The story is presented very clearly. One feels transported among the soldiers and the quotations are woven into the text so skilfully that one has to take care to recognize the quotations.

Many a writer does not want to befoul his own nest and is simply happy that the British were marvellous and wonderful. Something Richards does in no way. He condemns the people who are responsible for the organisational and logistical desaster at the beginning of the campaign and when it comes to the point of military failures he does not spare criticism.

The one and most famous military failure in military history gets a hard thrashing and when it became a „glorious epic adventure“ in England he disagreed very explicitly.

When he describes the soldiers life it's easy to follow him, so one can imagine how it could have been. Yet on the other hand he does not push this matter too hard.

The descriptions of the battles are not too detailed and a little easy – they have to be because there are no maps. - How easy would it be to follow the course of a battle looking at one or two maps. - There is only one map of the Black Sea area and nothing else. This is very very sad and the one and only real weak point in this book.

I already knew the battles, so I had a picture and an idea of the conflict, but I wondered what difficulties it would bring to a beginner, reading about this military conflict with its many locations, and no map to orientate. A real mistake that cuts down the very good rating of this very well written and fine investigated book.

The reader shoud try to get some maps, so he can follow the action.

The military depth itself is not too high. There is not too much about tactics and weaponry, but I think this was not the intention of this book in the first place, thus it's not too sadly missed, even though it would have been useful to add a few explanations to some military facts the author mentions in the book.

On the other hand – and this is my personal point of view only - many a reader will be happy not knowing everything about every weapon and tactics.

So, if you ever want to start studying the war in the Crimea, this book will be a proper choice for you. There really are very few good books on this subject, and the one I am waiting for, where all members and all incidents are summed up in depth and detail, has not yet been written, and I fear that many a wave will have to run up the beach of Balaclava till this will happen.

Bellum Leonicum

Conflict in the Crimea
British Redcoats on the Soil of Russia
by D.S. Richards

Pen & Sword Books 2006

 

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