This is a first-of-its-kind work in English to review the Imperial Russian Army during its crucial period of modernization from 1861 (just after Crimea) to 1914 (the eve of the Great War).
The author is an instructor of strategy at the US Army Command and General Staff College and is an outstanding writer of military history.
The defeat in Crimea lead to changes in organization, doctrine and strategy for the Russian army. It's involvement in the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878 and the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905 gave it operational experience from which to learn (or fail to learn) the lessons which a rapid change in military technologies taught on the battlefield.
Russia was one of the very few European powers to fight major, non-colonial wars in this period which saw the introduction of smokeless powder, magazine rifles, quick firing artillery, and machine guns. Contrary to popular belief, the Russian army did take active measures to adapt to the new military technologies along with improvements in transportation (railroads) and communications (telegraph, field telephones, and radio). The Russian army from Alexander II to Nicholas II was not a hide-bound, unintelligent mamoth as it is so often depicted.
The author divides the work up neatly by periods and his writing flows smoothly between doctrine, strategy, organization, and operational history. The politics of the Tsarist regime, the personality conflicts within the Tsar's army, and the technical changes on the battlefield are all woven together into a comprehensive whole. It is an excellent review of how the Russian predilection for reliance on "cold steel" held up during the changes forced by the Industrial Revolution.
I give it all five "bayonets".