Book Review – ‘The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853–56, 2nd edn’ by Andrew Lambert

By Candan Badem, published October 2020


Professor Lambert’s book on British strategy in the Crimean War, since its first edition in 1990, has been a most welcome contribution to the literature on the subject. While the literature is really huge, the book is very distinct from the rest by its theoretical approach and geographical focus. The new edition comes with a long introduction that includes contributions to the field since 1990. The book’s approach is inspired by Clausewitz and its focus is the Baltic Sea rather than the Black Sea, though the book is also titled as the Crimean War, like many other books, due to the imperatives of the book market. The book rests upon solid research and represents a good example of the new British naval historiography to prove the role of naval operations in nineteenth-century warfare. Its central argument is true: Russia did not accept peace because it lost Sevastopol, but because it feared a frontal attack on Cronstadt, its naval base near St Petersburg, combined with the Austrian Ultimatum and fears of Swedish alliance against Russia. In fact Russia had employed only a very small fraction of its army in the Crimea….

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Filed under: Crimean War | Nineteenth Century
Subjects include: Navies | Strategy & Diplomacy

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