Books: The Story of a Blunder

THE REASON WHY (287 pp.)-Cec/7 Woodham-Smith-McGraw-Hill ($4).

The British Royal Navy is proud of its victories, but the British Army pays its deepest respects to forlorn hopes. The Crimean War of 1854 produced two real triumphs of British arms-the routing of the main body of Russian cavalry by 550 Highlanders (immortalized as "the thin red line"), and the brilliant and successful charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava. But these are as nothing in British eyes compared with the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, in which some 700 horsemen rode unprotestingly into what every trooper knew was a trap. As...

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