This is made up of ‘December’, ‘May’, ‘August’, 1854-1855
Description: In the winter of 1854 Tolstoy, then an officer in the Russian army, arranged to be transferred to the besieged town of Sebastopol. Wishing to see at first hand the action of what would become known as the Crimean War, he was spurred on by a fierce patriotism, but also by an equally fierce desire to alert the authorities to appalling conditions in the army. The three “Sebastopol Sketches” – December’, May’ and August’ – re-create what happened during different phases of the siege and its effect on the ordinary men around him. Writing with the truth as his utmost aim, he brought home to Russia’s entire literate public the atrocities of war. In doing so, he realized his own vocation as a writer and established his literary reputation.
Opening to the introduction: On 29th April 1851, at the age of twenty-two, the young Leo Tolstoy set out from Yasnaya Polyana for the Caucasus, together with his older brother Nikaolai, whose battery was stationed there.
**points up** that introduction is lengthy: 38 out of 171 pages, and then there is the huge map that follows. The first sketch starts 40/171 with:
The light of daybreak is just beginning to tint the sky above the Sapun-gora.[*] The dark surface of the sea has already thrown off night’s gloom and is waiting for the first ray of sunlight to begin, its cheerful sparkling. From the bay comes a steady drift of cold and mist. There is no snow—everything is black—but the sharp morning frost catches at your face and cracks beneath your feet, and only the incessant, far-off rumble of the sea, punctuated every now and again by the booming of the artillery in Sebastopol, breaks into the morning quiet. From nearby ships sounds the hollow chiming of eight bells.
SAME PLACE, DIFFERENT ERA:
[*] Sapun-gora is a ridge (240 m height) to the southeast of Sevastopol, in Crimea, Ukraine.
It became the arena of fierce battle during the siege of Sevastopol (1941-1942), and also during its recapturing in 1944.
When defending Sevastopol the Soviet troops held the Sapun Ridge and could observe German movements to the city from the south. It took Wehrmacht nearly 2 weeks of desperate fighting to take control over these positions in late June 1942. As a consequence, Soviet troops had to evacuate from Crimea.
In 2 years, on the final stage of the Crimean Offensive the assault of Sapun-gora on the 7th of May, 1944 was successful for Red Army. On 9 May 1944, just over one month after the start of the battle, Sevastopol fell. German forces were evacuated from Sevastopol to Constanța.
Later in 1944 the first monuments to the Soviet warriors on this place were erected, in 1959 the diorama showing the assault of the German fortifications was opened. (wiki sourced)
SAME PLACE, DIFFERENT ERA:Putin annexes Crimea, March 2014, then pokes a hornets nest by sending covert anarchists into mainland Ukraine to trigger a civil war. The heat from his rubbing, gleeful hands, is curdling the milk of human kindness.
HOW history repeats itself – and yet through the ages man is forever surprised at events. How can that be, mon chere, just how…
view toward Sapun Gor ridge. The Causeway height is on the left. The Light Brigade charged from the far end of this valley straight toward us. source
To get a clearer context here is a bit from wiki which sums it up well: The Siege of Sevastopol was the subject of Crimean soldier Leo Tolstoy’s Sebastopol Sketches and the subject of the first Russian feature film, Defence of Sevastopol. The Battle of Balaklava was made famous by Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and Robert Gibb’s painting The Thin Red Line, as well as by a panorama of the siege painted by Franz Roubaud. Treating the wounded from these battles were celebrated English nurses Mary Seacole and Florence Nightingale.
4* The Death of Ivan Ilych
4* Anna Karenina
5* War and Peace
3* The Kreutzer Sonata
2* The Cossacks
TR What Men Live By
3* A Letter to Hindu
3* The Sebastopol Sketches
TRIVIA: For 20 odd years, close to a Sebastopol in an entirely different location, was a five stone soaking wet, pink mountainbike cyclist. Helen or Petra will know where I mean: 3/4 up from Casnewydd to Pont-y-pŵl is Sebastopol, with its Panteg and on to Goytre Wharf; and just what was the name of that pub there on the dog-leg where many a lad threw his dart on a Tuesday night and was pinned, by convention, to a bobbing line full of terry toweling, boiler-engrained buntings.