Cover image for Crimea : the Great Crimean War, 1854-1856
Crimea : the Great Crimean War, 1854-1856
Royle, Trevor, 1945-
Personal Author:
First St. Martin's edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 564 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 25 cm
General Note:
Maps on lining papers.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DK214 .R69 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The Crimean War is one of history's most compelling subjects. It encompassed human suffering, woeful leadership and maladministration on a grand scale. It created a heroic myth out of the disastrous Charge of the Light Brigade and, in Florence Nightingale, it produced one of history's great heroes. New weapons were introduced; trench combat became a fact of daily warfare outside Sebastopol; medical innovation saved countless soldiers' lives that would otherwise have been lost. The war paved the way for the greater conflagration which broke out in 1914 and greatly prefigured the current situation in Eastern Europe.

Author Notes

Trevor Royle is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and, until recently, was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at Edinburgh University.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The Crimean War began with a seemingly trivial dispute between France and Russia over protection of holy Christian sites in Palestine; it quickly evolved into a general European war, the first since the final defeat of Napoleon. In this beautifully written and riveting account of that conflict, Royle, who has written extensively on military history, shows how it presaged many of the horrors of early-twentieth-century warfare. The Crimean War saw the first extensive use of the rifled musket, trench warfare became a constant reality, and underwater mines took a great toll on warships. Of course, it was the first war extensively covered by the press, providing a direct, emotional link between the armies and the citizens sustaining them. Royle writes with a compact narrative style that gives his saga the feel of a tragic novel in which the protagonists blunder, often heroically, but usually unwittingly, into an inglorious fate. This is an outstanding work of historic scholarship that should also have great value and appeal for general readers. --Jay Freeman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the century between Napoleon and WWI, only one major international war was fought among the European powers. Faintly understood, the Crimean War--which pitted Britain and France with the Ottoman Empire against Russia--was the war that made Florence Nightingale famous. But although it was arguably the hinge upon which much subsequent history turned, little is known about it, or remembered--except for the charge of the Light Brigade. (Indeed, two of the British commanders who served there--Lords Raglan and Cardigan--are known more for their contributions to fashion than for their military deeds.) In Crimea, Royle (Winds of Change: The End of Empire in Africa) remedies this situation. A writer and journalist specializing in military history, he covers not just the Crimea, but also the entire Black Sea region in his beautifully written study. He describes the diplomatic maneuverings that passed between the belligerents and their potential allies (like the United States), and he thoughtfully considers the causes, conduct and consequences of the war. And although he provides a massive amount of detail, it is a testament to his skill that the details never overwhelm the narrative. Thorough and informative, this scholarly book will interest readers of history and military history alike; for the present, it also stands as the definitive treatment of the Crimean War. Illus. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Mighty wars spring from unusual sources. Four major powers (Britain, France, and Turkey vs. Russia) went to war in 1854 over who should hold the front-door keys to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Scottish historian Royle (Last Days of the Raj) shows how this spark ignited smoldering European political tensions. Huge armies battled for two years over a single Russian city, Sevastopol, on the Black Sea. Once it fell to the allies, a peace was quickly engineered that failed to resolve the underlying tensions. The war's chief significance was its innovations: it introduced trench warfare, mined harbors, battlefield nursing, and up-to-the-minute press coverage. 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.DBob Persing, Univ. of Pennsylvania Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Prologue: 1851p. 1
Part I
1 A Churchwardens' Quarrelp. 15
2 Menshikov's Missionp. 34
3 Getting into Deep Watersp. 50
4 The Thousand and One Notesp. 64
5 Phoney Warp. 77
6 The Affair at Sinopep. 91
7 Drifting towards Warp. 103
8 'Our Beautiful Guards'p. 116
9 Uneasy Partnersp. 134
10 Opening Shotsp. 149
11 Varna Interludep. 166
12 Hurrah for the Crimea!p. 183
Part II
1 Advance to Contactp. 203
2 The Alma: The Infantry Will Advancep. 217
3 Missed Opportunitiesp. 232
4 Ladies with Lampsp. 246
5 Balaklava: A Cavalryman's Battlep. 261
6 Inkerman: An Infantryman's Battlep. 279
7 Arrival of General Winterp. 295
8 Muddle in Washington, Progress in Viennap. 309
9 'Pam' Enters the Frayp. 326
10 Spring Stalematep. 341
11 Todleben's Triumphp. 358
12 Spring Cruise, Summer Successp. 373
13 Trench Warfare: Massacre in the Redoubtsp. 389
14 Sevastopol Fallsp. 401
15 The Forgotten War: Kars and Erzerump. 416
16 A Second Winterp. 433
Part III
1 Peace Feelersp. 451
2 Tying Up Some Loose Endsp. 464
3 Peacetime in Parisp. 476
4 The New World Orderp. 490
5 Learning the Lessons the Hard Wayp. 502
Epilogue: 1914p. 515
Bibliographyp. 525
Notes and Referencesp. 533
Indexp. 549