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Maurice Baring describes his book as the record of the fleeting impressions of an ignorant and bewildered civilian, but his pages are filled with many shrewd and true remarks upon Russia and things Russian. His judgments are not warped by prejudice, and his book deserves careful reading. It is the system, he maintains, rather than the men which is at fault. He found the Russian soldiers splendid fellows, and has words of praise for the much-abused Russian officer. Want of direction and lack of cohesion are the two crying faults of the Russian army to which, in his opinion, the Japanese have owed their military successes. He quotes and endorses the remark of a soldier, that "If the authorities rt the top of the ladder were anything like as good as the men at the bottom the result would be very different." A melancholy interest attaches to Captain Klado's book on the "Russian Navy in the Russo-Japanese War" (Hurst and Blackett. 281 pp.). His gloomy forebodings have been only too amply justified. It is a cogent statement of the salient facts of the Far Eastern situation, and an urgent plea that every effort should be made to regain the command of the sea. Events have moved swiftly since the book appeared, but there is much in it of permanent interest and value.
–The Review of Reviews, Volume 31
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Born in London in 1874, Maurice Baring was a man of letters, a scion of a family long prominent in the financial ventures of the British Empire. The son of the 1st Baron Revelstoke (a director of the Bank of England and a senior partner at Baring Bros.) he was educated at Eton and at Cambridge, and joined the diplomatic service in 1898. In 1904 he became a journalist and reported the Russo-Japanese War in Manchuria; later he was a correspondent in Russia and Constantinople. He is credited with having discovered Chekov's work in Moscow and helping to introduce it to the West. Baring is remembered as a versatile, prolific and highly successful writer, who produced articles, plays, biographies, criticism, poetry, translations, stories and novels. He is regarded as a representative of the social culture that flourished in England before World War I, his work highly regarded to this day for the acute intimate portraits of the time.
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