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Crimean War

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Crimean War

Postby Misfit » Sat June 12th, 2010, 3:39 pm

I currently winding down to the end of Fleur by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and in the midst of the Seige of Sebastopol (hope I spelled that right). I'm still having a hard time grasping what this entire war was over if anyone out there cares of jump in and dumb it down for me.

What's really shocking is the horrendous conditions of the British soldiers even before they arrived in the Crimea, packed like sardines into ships for weeks on end with little good food or water, no wonder disease was so rampant.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat June 12th, 2010, 6:22 pm

There's quite a good narrative of the events and overview at the Victorian Web with a lot more info if you really want to get into it.
http://www.victorianweb.org/history/crimea/narrov.html

Basically it came down to clash between Russia and Britain who were both in an expansionist mode at the time and were in a push-shove in India - this was the heyday of the British Empire, and Russia was threatening Britain's access to Mediterranean trade routes. If you look behind most wars you'll usually find that its about profits and losses rather than honour and glory!

Here'a brief overview by David Cody from the Victorian Web:

England entered this war between Russia and Turkey on the side of the Turks because Russia was seeking to control the Dardanelles and thus threaten England's Mediterranean sea routes. The country might not have gone to war had it not been so popular, patriotism being inflamed by such works as Charles Kingsley's Westward Ho!

The misunderstood order that lead to the suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade (by a brigade of light cavalry over open terrain against well-defended heavy artillery) was unfortunately symptomatic of the ineptness of the British command. The army's problems were made public by the first real war correspondent, William Russell of the London Times. (Other outrages included the inability of the supply corps to get food to starving soldiers six miles away.) The exposure lead to reform. As the enemy killed fewer British soldiers than starvation and cholera, so the gallantry of the Light Brigade was less consequential than the actions of Florence Nightingale, who reformed the way the hospitals were being run and invented the nursing profession.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat June 12th, 2010, 6:44 pm

Thanks Annis, and I've just been through the Charge. Such losses of life, it always breaks my heart. I'm getting to Band of Angels by Julia Gregson and it covers the same topic.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat June 12th, 2010, 6:56 pm

Additionally, the Crimean war caused the death (some say pneumonia, others that he starved himself from despair) of Tsar Nicholas I, which was a relief for Russia. His son Alexander II was much less autocratic and managed to abolish serfdom -- on wiser terms than the US used when it abolished slavery that same decade -- in that each Russian serf got a plot of land to keep his family alive.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sat June 12th, 2010, 6:56 pm

Is this a reissue of Gregson's Water Horse? I read that some years ago.

The impact on the English public of having reporters sending back details to British newspapers was similar to that of TV coverage of the Vietnam War on the sensibilities of the average American. Matthew Plampin's "The Street Philosopher" is about one of these reporters and how the horrors of what he saw in the Crimea affects his life - very good.

And of course, George MacDonald Fraser's brilliantly cynical Flashman at the Charge is a great read.
Last edited by annis on Thu June 17th, 2010, 5:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat June 12th, 2010, 7:41 pm

Annis, yes it's the same book. Not sure why a title change, perhaps just the US edition?
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Sun June 13th, 2010, 1:29 am

The sad thing is that in the later Boer War the numbers of those who died from disease were still greater than casualties resulting from action. This was despite the formation of a medical corps and the provision of hospitals and was mostly due to the difficulties in transport and getting sick soldiers back to hospitals and medical aid. So though some lessons had been learned from the Crimean experience, problems still occurred.

The official figures reveal that of the British Force of 55,6653 men who served in the Anglo-Boer War, 57 684 contracted typhoid, 8 225 of whom died, while 7 582 were killed in action.( As had been the experience in America during the Civil War, the disease was found to be one which occurred in static camps. And as for what happened in the concentration camps--
Ann Harries' novel "No Place for a Lady" deals with the situation of English nurses in South Africa during the Boer War and efforts to improve conditions for Boer internees in the camps.
Last edited by annis on Thu June 17th, 2010, 5:12 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue November 23rd, 2010, 10:08 pm

The misunderstood order that lead to the suicidal Charge of the Light Brigade (by a brigade of light cavalry over open terrain against well-defended heavy artillery) was unfortunately symptomatic of the ineptness of the British command.


An older thread I'd forgotten about. Emma Drummond's Scarlet Shadows deals with the Crimean War and she puts one of her MC's right in the thick of the Charge of the Light Brigade.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

annabel
Scribbler

Postby annabel » Tue December 14th, 2010, 9:10 pm

Thanks for that, Misfit.
Just finished Scarlet Shadows - the love story didn't ring true for me but it's great on the Crimean war - I now feel I have a much better idea of why the Light Brigade made that suicidal charge. Now looking for good non fiction books about the war. Sad thing is it has too many echoes down the years to the present day.

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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Tue December 14th, 2010, 10:36 pm

"annabel" wrote:Thanks for that, Misfit.
Just finished Scarlet Shadows - the love story didn't ring true for me but it's great on the Crimean war - I now feel I have a much better idea of why the Light Brigade made that suicidal charge. Now looking for good non fiction books about the war. Sad thing is it has too many echoes down the years to the present day.


The Charge was some seriously scary stuff, wasn't it? I never really quite understood what was involved before.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be


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