The Battle of Tsushima

Written by Phil Carradice
Review by Edward James

The battle of Tsushima, Russia’s crushing naval defeat by the Japanese in 1905, set the course for the 20th century.  It destroyed Russia’s credibility as a Great Power; without it, Germany and Austria would have hesitated to confront Russia in 1914, setting in train two World Wars.  It set Japan on the path to Hiroshima.

But reading this book is more than an act of duty to understand the history of the last century.  Only 15 pages are devoted to the actual battle.  The rest follows the 18000-mile journey of Russia’s Baltic Fleet to do battle in the Pacific, nearly starting a war with Britain on the way; the longest ever voyage by a coal-burning fleet.  Although we know how the story will end, we remain fascinated by the unfolding drama.

A superb piece of narrative history.