October 2, 2011
BOOK OF THE WEEK: WEEK FORTY, 2011
Orlando Figes, The Crimean War: A History (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010) ("The name of the Crimean War does not reflect its global scale and huge significance for Europe, Russia and that area of the world -- stretching from the Balkans to Jerusalem, from Constantinople to the Caucasus -- that came to be defined by the Eastern Question, the great international problem posed by the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Perhaps it would be better to adopt the Russian name for the Crimean War, the 'Eastern War' (Vostochnaia voina)), which at least has the merit of connecting it to the Eastern Question, or even the 'Turco-Russian War', the name for it in many Turkish sources, which place it in the longer-term historical context of centuries of warfare between the Russians and the Ottomans, although this omits the crucial factor of Western intervention in the war." Id. at xx. "What I hope emerges from these pages is a new appreciation of the war's importance as a major turning point in the history of Europe, Russia and the Middle East, the consequences off which are still felt today . . . Long neglected . . . with little real discussion of the war's religious origins, the complex politics of the Eastern Question, Christian-Muslim relations in the Black Sea region, or the influence of European Russophobia, with which it is difficult to grasp the conflicts true significance." Id. at xxi. Also see Gary J. Bass, "Why the Crimean War Matters," NYT Book Review, Sunday, 7/10/2011.).