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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War


Death or Glory: The Legacy of the Crimean War Cover

ISBN13: 9780813337890
ISBN10: 0813337895
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In 1853, the Crimean War began as an intensely romantic affair, with officers and soldiers alike taking to the fray with phrases like “death or glory” on their tongues and in their hearts. Nothing stands out more starkly than the toughness of the soldiers who fought so savagely, seldom complained, and only rarely collapsed under wars terrible and relentless stresses. Acts of astonishing bravery, many of them by doctors, women, and children, were commonplace. But so was callousness and brutality. The war soon became an impersonal, long-range killing match that resembled, far in advance, the trench warfare of World War I. It became a showcase for bad generalship and bureaucratic bungling. Men, women, and children died of hunger, cold, and disease many times more often than they were killed by rifles or the most massive artillery barrages the world have ever seen.Death or Glory is not a mere battle chronology; rather, it is a narrative immersion into conditions during what became arguably the most tragically botched military campaign, from all sides, in modern European history—and the most immediate precedent to the American Civil War. Edgerton paints a vivid picture of the war, from the Charge of the Light Brigade and the heroics of Florence Nightingale to the British soldiers who, simply unable to take the misery, starvation, and cholera any longer, took their own lives. He describes how leaders failed their men again and again; how women and children became unseen heroes; how the universally despised Turks fought their own war; and, finally and perhaps most importantly, why so many fought so bravely in what seemed a futile cause. By comparing these experiences with those of Northern and Southern soldiers during the more well-documented American Civil War, Edgerton contributes a new perspective on how soldiers in the mid-19th century experienced war, death, and glory.


A social history of one of the most tragically botched military campaigns in modern European history—and the most immediate precedent to the American Civil War.

About the Author

Robert B. Edgerton is the author of more than twenty other books on a variety of sociological, anthropological, and historical topics, most recently Hidden Heroism (Westview 2001). He also teaches anthropology at the UCLA School of Medicine.

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Gold Gato, April 14, 2012 (view all comments by Gold Gato)
For a decent primer on the why-how-what-when of the Crimean War, this is a good book to have on the shelf. One of the most puzzling wars ever fought is explained thoroughly, even down to the games and sports the soldiers preferred...when they weren't trying to halve the opposition with cannon.

However, it seems to be written as a thesis project, because out-of-the-blue there will be references to the American Civil War. While I understand the title of the book includes the word "legacy", it doesn't seem to really provide a path to that legacy. Thus, the constant references to the Civil War, that had not yet been fought, is rather a pain. In one instance, there is an exceptionally long paragraph that suddenly ends with one sentence about the Yanks and Confederates. Weird.

In any case, I suggest you do NOT eat before or while reading this book. The gore is well explained, as the various sides do their best to kill each other in a war that solved absolutely nothing. It did, however, bring about an understanding of military medicine as more men died of disease in the Crimean War than of gunshots and sabres. The Charge of the Light Brigade is also here, with an explanation as to why the fools did what they did. And yet the stupidity of the military leadership in the Crimea was still there sixty years later in WWI. We never learn.

Book Season = Winter (so you can feel the horrific conditions these men felt)
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Product Details

Edgerton, Robert B.
Westview Press
Edgerton, Robert
Military - General
Eastern Europe
Military - Other
Europe - Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Eastern Europe - General
Military-General History
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
9 x 6 in 16 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Economics » General
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » Military » Miscellaneous Wars
History and Social Science » Military » Strategy Tactics and Deception
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Russia » General Russian History

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Product details 304 pages Westview Press - English 9780813337890 Reviews:
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A social history of one of the most tragically botched military campaigns in modern European history—and the most immediate precedent to the American Civil War.
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