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Author Kriegel, Lara, 1968- author.

Title The Crimean War and its afterlife : making modern Britain / Lara Kriegel, Indiana University
Published Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2022


Description 1 online resource : illustrations, maps
Contents Introduction : the reason why – Persistence. The adventurers -- The dutiful – Avatars. The brave -- The custodians – Angels. The heroine -- The foremother – Afterword : do and die
Summary "Cecil Woodham-Smith was an unlikely historian. Even after writing two bestselling books, the acclaimed popular author remained surprised by her own success. The daughter of a prominent Anglo-Irish military family, Mrs. Woodham-Smith was a well-dressed housewife and erstwhile romance writer turned purveyor of Victorian history. Inspired by a dinner party conversation, she burst onto the scene in 1950 with a successful biography of Florence Nightingale. No one-hit wonder, she followed up three years later with The Reason Why, an account of the Charge of the Light Brigade, the tragic culmination of the Battle of Balaklava. The bestseller solidified Woodham-Smith's standing as a historian of national renown. Widely reviewed and broadly acclaimed, The Reason Why became required reading across a broad swath of British society. It was even named the Daily Mail's Book of the Month Selection in November 1953. The through line linking these two works by Woodham-Smith is the mid-nineteenth century's Crimean War, fought between 1853 and 1856, primarily on a Black Sea peninsula now occupied by the Russian Federation. This conflict of recondite and complex causes is best known in Britain for the mismanagement by the Army's hidebound leadership and for the innovations of the moment's resourceful new luminaries. The Army's blunder is exemplified in the Charge of the Light Brigade, a near-suicidal maneuver involving more than 600 cavalry soldiers. The occasion came to characterize a British affection for disaster and even failure, particularly when met with unflinching duty. The leading light of the War, on the other hand, was Florence Nightingale. Called "The Lady with the Lamp," Nightingale offered a fearless response to deaths by wartime illness, her can-do spirit coated in an angelic veneer. As she wrote about the Victorian past, Mrs. Woodham-Smith played her part in lodging a tragic blunder and a beloved heroine at the heart of national myth and national understanding. Together, Florence Nightingale and The Charge of the Light Brigade represent the antinomies of the Crimean War. They also capture two poles of British, and particularly English, self-conception. I imagined, when I began researching the Crimean conflict some years ago, that Mrs. Woodham-Smith would appear as a footnote in my study, her texts providing a well-regarded foundation in their archival research and lucid prose. But as I dove into military archives, I found myself pulled between letters sent from survivors in the wake of the Charge and plans for auctions of its regalia one hundred years on. And when I surveyed medical papers, my perusals of nineteenth-century newspapers lionizing Nightingale opened up into discoveries of transcripts for BBC radio shows produced a century later. My experience researching other aspects and other protagonists was very much the same. Database searches and archival meanderings had me shuttling between the Crimean War and its legacies, from the nineteenth century, through the twentieth century, and even to our present day. Time and again, my research revealed, countless Britons have found themselves absorbed by the mid-nineteenth century's War. As I came to apprehend this dynamic, Mrs. Woodham-Smith moved from footnote to text and from background to foreground"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Description based on online resource; title from digital title page (Cambridge Books Online, April 24, 2024)
Subject Woodham Smith, Cecil, 1896-1977.
Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910.
Seacole, Mary, 1805-1881.
SUBJECT Nightingale, Florence, 1820-1910 fast
Seacole, Mary, 1805-1881 fast
Subject Crimean War, 1853-1856 -- Influence
Crimean War, 1853-1856 -- Social aspects -- Great Britain
Crimean War, 1853-1856 -- Literature and the war
Crimean War, 1853-1856 -- Historiography
Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.)
Social aspects
War and literature
SUBJECT Great Britain -- History -- Victoria, 1837-1901.
Subject Great Britain
Genre/Form Electronic books
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2021035034
ISBN 9781108906951
Other Titles Making modern Britain