The Russians were wrong-footed from the start, fighting in Manchuria at the end of a 5,000 mile single track railway; the Japanese were a week or so from their bases. The Russian command structure was hopelessly confused, their generals old and incompetent, the Tsar cautious and uncertain. The Russian naval defeat at Tsushima was as farcical as it was complete. The Japanese had defeated a big European power, and the lessons for the West were there for all to see, had they cared to do so. From this curious war, so unsafely ignored for the most part by the military minds of the day, Richard Connaughton has woven a fascinating narrative to appeal to readers at all levels.