Book Recommendation: The Crimean War, by Orlando Figes

Posted on September 22nd, 2015 by

I have just finished reading The Crimean War, by Orlando Figes, Professor of History at the University of London. The book came out a few years ago, but for once my slowness to get to a book paid off. It could not be more timely. Through his discussion of the Crimean War, Figes cast a great deal of light on Putin’s aggressive policies now, and especially the recent seizure of the Crimea from Ukraine. He also helped me to understand the roots of the Muslim unrest in the Caucasus region. Moreover, I was surprised by how many things I associate with World War I actually had their origin in the Crimean War. Figes’s descriptions of the trenches outside of Sevastopol make them seem virtually indistinguishable for accounts of WWI trenches. His range, dealing with great balance and ease with the histories of England, France, and Russia (and to a less extent the Ottoman Empire) make this a truly impressive piece of scholarship. It’s a long book, but it reads like a novel and I highly recommend it.

 

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