Hell Riders: The True Story of the Charge of the Light Brigade

Hell Riders: The True Story of the Charge of the Light Brigade

by Terry Brighton
     
 

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On the 150th anniversary of the world's most famous cavalry charge comes a revisionist retelling of the battle based on firsthand accounts from the soldiers who fought there

In October 1854, with the Crimean War just under way and British and French troops pushing the tsar's forces back from the Black Sea, seven hundred intrepid English horsemen

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Overview

On the 150th anniversary of the world's most famous cavalry charge comes a revisionist retelling of the battle based on firsthand accounts from the soldiers who fought there

In October 1854, with the Crimean War just under way and British and French troops pushing the tsar's forces back from the Black Sea, seven hundred intrepid English horsemen charged a mile and a half into the most heavily fortified Russian position in the Crimea in Ukraine. In the seven minutes it took the cavalry to cross this distance, more than five hundred of them were killed. Celebrated in poetry and legend, the charge of the Light Brigade has stood for a century and a half as a pure example of military dash and daring. Until now, historical accounts of this cavalry charge have relied upon politically motivated press reports and diaries kept by the aristocratic British generals who commanded the action.

In Hell Riders, noted historian and Crimean War expert Terry Brighton looks, for the first time, to the journals recorded by survivors-the soldiers who did the fighting. His riveting firsthand narrative reveals the tragically inept leadership on the part of the British commander in chief, Lord Raglan, whose orders for the charge were poorly communicated and misinterpreted, and an unfathomable indifference on the part of British officers to the men who survived the battle and were left to tend their wounds and bury the dead in the freezing cold. While the charge overran the Russians, it gained nothing and the war continued for another two years. In finally capturing the truth behind the charge of the Light Brigade, Brighton offers a stirring portrait of incredible bravery in the service of a misguided endeavor.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even for the British, knowledge of the Charge of the Light Brigade begins and ends with Tennyson's poem-and it's debatable how many Americans could even tell you which war the battle took place in. Brighton, a curator at the British museum devoted to the regiment that led the charge, deftly explains the circumstances leading to the 1854-1856 Crimean War and the Light Brigade's misbegotten confrontation with Russian artillery at Balaklava, outlining the difficulties the soldiers faced in the weeks leading up to the fateful battle. A minute-by-minute account dealing with the battle itself builds tension through effective crosscutting of passages from eyewitness accounts by several survivors along with the author's own thoughtful analysis. Later sections address nagging controversies, such as whether the brigade's commander abandoned his troops mid-fight, while Brighton does his best to pin down just how many soldiers rode into the valley of death and concludes that, despite the heavy losses, the brigade did not lose at Balaklava. His story is an example to all popular historians of how to combine a gripping yarn with deep insight into the social and cultural forces driving the action. Agent, Carl Brandt. (Nov. 2) Forecast: Military history buffs may recognize the 150th anniversary of the Charge on October 25, but acceptance among a broader American audience seems unlikely. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466859678
Publisher:
Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
12/10/2013
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
548,331
File size:
6 MB

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