Crimea: The Last Crusade

TitleCrimea: The Last Crusade
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFiges, Orlando
Number of Pages575
PublisherAllen Lane

The Crimean War dominated the mid-19th century, killed at least 800,000 men and pitted Russia against a formidable coalition of Britain, France and the Ottoman Empire. It was a war for territory, provoked by fear that if the Ottoman Empire were to collapse then Russia could control a huge swathe of land from the Balkans to the Persian Gulf. But it was also a war of religion, driven by a fervent, populist and ever more ferocious belief by the Tsar and his ministers that this was a crusade, the fulfilment of Russia's task to rule all Orthodox Christians and control the Holy Land. And it was a war based on hatreds and hypocrisy, specifically the overwhelming Russophobia that swept much of Europe. This volume reimagines this extraordinary war, in which the stakes could not have been higher. Drawing on a huge range of fascinating, often untapped sources, the author recalls the iconic moments of the war, and also gives the lived experience of the war, from that of the ordinary British soldier in his snow-filled trench, to the haunted, gloomy, narrow figure of Tsar Nicholas himself, as he vowed to take on the whole world in his hunt for religious salvation.

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