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The Bloody White Baron

Roman Ungern von Sternberg was a Baltic aristocrat, a violent, headstrong youth posted to the wilds of Siberia and Mongolia before the First World War. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Baron - now in command of a lethally effective rabble of cavalrymen - conquered Mongolia, the last time in history a country was seized by an army mounted on horses. He was a Kurtz-like fugure, slaughtering everyone he suspected of irreligion or of being a Jew. And his is a story that rehearses later horrors in Russia and elsewhere. James Palmer's book is an epic recreation of a forgotten episode and will establish him as a brilliant popular historian.
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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.

About the Author

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.

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