The Bloody White Baron by James Plamer tells the astonishing lost story of the insane mystic who conquered Mongolia in 1920 and tried to lead a cavalry army against the Bolsheviks in Moscow.
James Palmer was born in 1981, lives in Beijing and has travelled extensively in East and Central Asia. This is his first book. He brings to it a knowledge of comparative religion as well as a deep fascination with the cultures and history of China and Mongolia.
Ancient and modern savageries unite in the colorful antihero of this scintillating historical study. Baron Ungern-Sternberg (1886-1921) was a czarist officer who became a leader of anti-Bolshevik forces in Siberia during the Russian civil war. He was a staunch monarchist and anti-Semite, whose sadism heightened the brutality of an already vicious conflict. He was pushed by the Red Army into Mongolia, where his reactionary impulses, accentuated by an attraction to esoteric Eastern religions, grew downright medieval. Hailed as a reincarnated god by locals who perhaps mistook him for a prophesied Buddhist messiah, Ungern-Sternberg dreamed of leading an Asian empire against the decadent West and instituted a fleeting dictatorship under which resisters were flogged to death, torn apart or burned alive. Journalist Palmer pens a vivid and slightly wry profile of this larger-than-life figure who rode into battle bare-chested and necklaced with bones, and lucidly dissects Ungern-Sternberg's protofascist worldview, with its motifs of racism, feudal hierarchy, regenerative bloodshed and mystic communion with primitive virility. The result is a fascinating portrait of an appalling man--and of the zeitgeist that shaped him. Maps. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.