It was one of the most shocking military reversals in history. When it was over and Port Arthur had surrendered to the Japanese, an astounded Europe took note. ""Coolie could become master and master, coolie."" The Warners have written a noisy, action-filled history of the Russo-Japanese confrontation concentrating on Liaoyang, Mukden, the capitulation of Port Arthur and other spectacular battles and on the personalities and changing fortunes of the chief commanders, Nogi, Oyama and Admiral Togo on the Japanese side, Kuropatkin, Stoessel and Admiral Rozhdestvenski on the Russian. They manage to convey the steely determination of the Japanese and the rank confusion and progressive demoralizaton of the ill-prepared and overconfident Russians. A great deal of Japanese and Russian 19th century history is splashed into the narrative with both societies coming off as semi-barbarous. Since Korea was the imperialist's sought-after prize, a modicum of sensationalized Korean history is also thrown in, complete with the story of how the Japanese hacked the body of Queen Min with swords, soaked her in cooking oil and lit the fire. On the Russian side the authors have virtually no comment on how the stunning defeat at the hands of the Japanese aggravated the crisis of Russian society and helped launch the Revolution, though Nicholas II's histrionics are reported fully. Entertaining rather than analytical, it will appeal to those who feed on military history and exotic Oriental ceremonies.