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Sevastopol’s Wars: Crimea from Potemkin to Putin by Mungo Melvin

Published in hardback by Osprey Publishing on 20 April 2017 at £30

From award-winning historian Mungo Melvin, the first book to cover the full history of Russia's historic Crimean naval citadel, from its founding in 1783 through to the current tensions that threaten the region’s peace and stability.

Founded by Catherine the Great, the maritime city of Sevastopol has been fought over for centuries. Crucial battles of the Crimean War were fought on the hills surrounding the city, and the memory of this stalwart defence inspired those who fought the Germans during the Second World War. Twice the city has faced complete obliteration yet twice it has risen, phoenix-like, from the ashes. Rebuilt from scratch during the Cold War, it remains a formidable bastion of Russian military power.

In this ground-breaking volume, award-winning author Mungo Melvin explores how Sevastopol became a crucible of three major conflicts – the Crimean War, the Russian Civil War and the Second World War – witnessing the death and destruction of countless soldiers, sailors and civilians yet creating the indomitable 'spirit of Sevastopol'.  By weaving together historical accounts, first-hand interviews, detailed operational reports and expert battle analysis, Melvin creates a rich tapestry of history, brought further to life through 16 colour maps and over 80 pictures.

Talking Points

  • The significance of both Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia since 1783, and why they were re-annexed in 2014 at the expense of Ukraine.
  • The background to the tensions surrounding Russia, Ukraine, Crimea and the West.
  • The close bonds between the Crimea generally and Sevastopol specifically to the Russian people – explaining why the Russian action was widely welcomed by local inhabitants in 2014.
  • A deeply researched study of the operational and tactical methods used by Russian and Soviet forces during the 19th and 20th centuries, and most recently in 2014.
  • Russian author Leo Tolstoy and his service as a junior artillery officer during the Crimean War.  (Sevastopol’s Wars includes fascinating excerpts from his vivid accounts of the city under siege in 1854–55, Sevastopol Sketches.)

About Major General Mungo Melvin

Major General Mungo Melvin CB OBE is the author of award-winning Manstein: Hitler's Greatest General (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010). He is a retired senior Army officer - commissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1975, he saw operational service in Northern Ireland, the Middle East and the Balkans. During the latter part of his 37-year career he specialised in strategic analysis and professional military education and doctrine, becoming one of the British Army's leading thinkers and writers. Mungo Melvin is president of the British Commission for Military History, and is currently advising the British Army on the First World War centenary commemorations. He is a senior associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute and a senior visiting research fellow of the Department of War Studies of King's College London. He lectures widely on strategy and military history in both the public and commercial sectors.  For more information about Major General Mungo Melvin please visit

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