The Tsar's Last Armada
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The Tsar's Last Armada

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  81 ratings  ·  10 reviews
A stirring reconstruction of one of history's great--and least known --naval battles.... Fascinating stuff. A boon for students of military history and naval warfare.--Kirkus Reviews (starred review).
ebook, 416 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Basic Books (AZ) (first published 2002)
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Gary Brecht
Here we have an excellent follow-up for military history buffs who wish to delve deeper into aspects of the Russo-Japanese War. Pleshakov narrates the harrowing and frustrating journey of the Tsar’s 3rd Pacific Fleet. Under the command of “Mad Dog” Zinovy Petrovitch Rozhestvensky, the Russian armada sets out from the Baltic, circumnavigates the African continent, and waits for several excruciating weeks in Madagascar while his adversary, Admiral Togo repairs his fleet at home. Frustrated by his...more
'Aussie Rick'
Constantine Pleshakov's new book `The Tsar's Last Armada: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima' is a compelling account of the voyage undertaken by a Russian Fleet half way around the world which ended in its total annihilation at the hands of the Japanese during the Battle of Tsushima. The book concentrates more on the actual events leading up to the decision to send the Russian fleet on this journey, the voyage itself and the personalities involved. Some previous reviews have made mention...more
Rick Eng
Excellent recount of the events leading up to a significant battle in naval history and a major disaster for Russia. What was most striking was the sense of doom that permeated the Tsar's officers and sailors, most notably the man selected to shepherd the imperial fleet 18,000 miles from the Baltic to the Pacific, Admiral Rozehestvensky. I sensed parallels between him and Duke of Medina Sidonia, the man King Philip II of Spain chose to lead the armada to its infamous defeat. An intelligent and t...more
The story of the epic voyage of the Russian Baltic Fleet to its disastrous fate at the Battle of Tsushima. The author is a native Russian with access to Russian and British archives, but not Japanese ones. As such, the story is exclusively told from the viewpoint of the European powers involved in the Russo-Japanese War.

The book is well-written and a fast read, though sometimes the language is bit non-idiomatic both for English and naval parlance (i.e., referring to junior naval enlisted as "pri...more
Constantine Pleshakov details the causes of the failures of the Imperial Russian Navy at the turn of the 20th century and does so very well. I was apalled at the lack of forethought that Czar Nicholas II put into his tactical desisions. To send an entire fleet of substandard warships with mostly untrained and undiciplined crews halfway around the world to recapture a derelect port from a superior enemy is madness! Admiral Roztvensky did his absolute best to carry out his campaign but the Imperia...more
In this well written and concise book, one the greatest voyages of all time and its fateful conclusion is told. In the battle of Tsushima, the heart of the Imperial Russian Navy's Baltic Fleet was destroyed by another great navy of the time, that of the Empire of Japan. This is no military history per se. While the battle is relayed, the book is focused on the extremely long voyage from the Baltic all the way around Africa, through the Indies, and finally to the straights between Korea and Japan...more
George Serebrennikov
The book is about the great and disastrous voyage of the Russian navy across the globe, as part of Russian-Japanese war of 1904-1905 that ends at Tsushima strait, just few hundred miles away from the intended destination. The book is not a well rounded research since by the author's own admission, is based sole on information available from European archives, ignoring Japan's archives completely. However, the book is very well written and provides an excellent overview of pre-revolutionary Russi...more
Christopher Carbone
Apr 14, 2009 Christopher Carbone rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
A really drab, dreary and excuse-filled book into the floundering Russian Empire's embarrassing Navy, up to its defeat at the battle of Tsushima. The book is doubly bad for all the excuses the author uses for Russian Admiral, Zinovy Rozhestvensky, who - even with the author's desperate appologist leanings- comes across as incompetent, bumbling and utterly out of his depth.

The book does only one thing well- and even that is only in passing -and that is describing the ascendancy of the Japanese N...more
Ned Leffingwell
This was full of things that I like; imperial hubris, shifty diplomacy, and naval battles. The description of Russia's navy crippled by classism, bureaucracy, and blind devotion to monarchy was engaging.
Absorbing story of the Battle of Tsushima, wherein the Japanese sank the entire Russian navy.
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