The author relies to a great extent on contemporary accounts of a large number of British men - and women - who were unwittingly caught up in this appalling war. As well as surviving the efforts of their determined enemy, the Russians, they had to overcome the harshest weather, rampant disease and woefully inadequate administrative support. As revealed to a shocked nation by the first war reporters, medical care was largely non-existent and wounded faced the trauma of being left for days without medical attention. This was where Florence Nightingale came in. Battles were prolonged, desperate and hugely costly. The Crimean War was the catalyst for the modernisation of the Army, due to the disgraceful injustice of conditions and lack of leadership and care by many in authority.