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He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Monday, May 03, 2004


Royle, Trevor. Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-1856. Palgrave, $19.95

History: Review of New Books: “a highly readable, new account…he has made a major effort to include the Russian and French perspectives on the war, perspectives that other authors have often neglected while retelling the familiar tale of British suffering and inefficiency…includes personality profiles and vivid descriptions that go beyond the scope of more analytical works such as Winfried Baumgart’s recent The Crimean War…Some readers might be misled into believing that religion and national prestige were at the heart of the Crimean War. With that caveat, however, the general reader will find this book both entertaining and informative, and professional historians may glean useful ideas about a general topic. Recommended for general collections.” History: “a welcome addition to the large bibliography on the war…Royle’s past publications leave the reader in no doubt of his capability to grapple with the military technicalities of war or evoke the feelings and sufferings of the soldiers on the battles. It is to the author’s credit that on this occasion he never fails to treat the convoluted diplomatic battles that prefigured and concluded the war with anything less than the vigour with which he approaches the actual battles. While this is not a rigorously academic text, Royle’s archival research and, even more so, his use of a myriad of personal accounts of the war are both impressive.” New York Times Book Review: A Notable Book, 2001; “a well-written, thorough study.” New Statesman: “Thorough and scholarly…The most original part of his account deals with the wider international ripples of the conflict and the largely unseen roles of Austria and the US…Royle’s juggling of all these elements, using a variety of sources, contributes to making this an exemplary history of an unnecessary war.” Library Journal: “Royle’s narrative is clear and readable, balancing battle descriptions and political maneuvering. The only flaw is the lack of a large-scale map, though smaller maps appear. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.” Canadian Journal of History: “What Royle has not done, however, is to make better use of scholarly analytic studies, which would have clarified the context and even the conduct of the war…Royle’s book sheds no light on Britain’s surprising decision to fight…It is also striking that Royle, a well-published journalist as well as historian, did not take the opportunity to include the fierce battle over blame and consequences of the war that raged in the influential quarterly reviews. Interesting as this book is, there is still room for another that will incorporate all this readily-available material.”


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