Afterword: Do and Die
from Part III - Angels
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 February 2022
The year 2020 provides evidence of the Crimea’s continued relevance in troubled times. In Britain, 2020 marks the moment that Brexit was finally done. Several critics found resonance in the Charge of the Light Brigade and the cult around it, which valorized heroic failure. Like the officers of the Light Brigade, the Tory leadership blundered as it led the nation into the abyss. In Britain and beyond, 2020 will be remembered as the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. Like the battle against the cholera in the Crimea, the British struggle against the virus was marred by mismanagement. In response, the names of Nightingale and Seacole found their ways onto makeshift hospitals and rehabilitation centers. And, as in the Crimea, military men – here, centenarians whose youths overlapped with the longest-lived of the Victorian generation – captured the hearts of the public. Most notable was Captain Tom Moore, whose compassion and particular variety of courage spurred him, at the age of 100, to raise money for the NHS before dying a celebrity in 2021. Even now, the Crimean War’s long afterlife provides touchstones for success, failure, and hope.
- The Crimean War and its AfterlifeMaking Modern Britain, pp. 236 - 244Publisher: Cambridge University PressPrint publication year: 2022