The Crimean War is full of resonance - the battles of Alma, Balaclava and Inkerman, the Charge of the Light Brigade, the siege of Sevastopol, Florence Nightingale at Scutari with her lamp. To contemporaries, it was not the Crimean War but 'The Great War with Russia' - ironically Britain's allies were France, her traditional enemy, and the Ottoman Empire, widely seen as an infidel, corrupt Islamic power. Britain was unable fully to deploy her greatest strength, the Royal Navy, while her army was run by incompetent aristocrats. With his sharp eye and analytical mind, Clive Ponting explodes many of the romantic myths which grew up in the years following the war, while telling the true story of the heroism of ordinary men. Above all, he makes use of the testimony of eye-witness accounts, from William Russell of The Times, the first war correspondent, to Leo Tolstoy, who was caught up in the action while visiting his brother, to the memories of a variety of serving soldiers.