Thomas, Donald.


1st ed., 1974. Xi + 369 pp., 16 photo & other plates. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. Lord Cardigan’s life provides a fascinating insight into English aristocracy during the nineteenth century. Dismissed from the army for ‘revolting’ conduct, Cardigan bought the command of the 11th Hussars (the ‘Cherry Bums’) for £40,000 a few years later. Regimental rivalries led to the ‘Black Bottle’ scandal of 1840 and to a duel in which he shot a brother officer. Nonetheless, his seductions of other men’s wives rivalled his regimental misdemeanours in press reports. All this led up to his last years which were to be driven by the greatest storm of all – whether he had been sentient hero or disastrous muttonhead at Balaclava as he led the famous Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War. This, the most famous cavalry charge in history, was on record, and in re-creating this event and its complex prelude, the author provides a view of the Crimean War which will startle even those who thought they knew it well.

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