The Bloody White Baron
My name is surrounded by such hate and fear that no one can judge what is the truth and what is false, what is history and what is myth.
-Baron Roman von Ungern-Sternberg
This is a rollicking history about a forgotten section of a war in a distant corner of the earth, with entertaining digressions into Mongolian society, Buddhist mythology (Mongolian Buddhism is a far cry from Tibetan), and a biography of one of the strangest historical figures of the Russian Civil War.
Baron Roman von Ungern-Ster ...more
I never dreamt that I would ever treat Mongolian patients or would work with Mongolian dental assistants (many of them are dentists trained in Mongolia), but now I do!
So, when someone on Goodreads, having read my brief review of The Russian Fascists: Tragedy and Farce in ...more
As with the tale of Colonel Despard recently reviewed by us (another marginal figure in another empire at another time), an individual outlier from the norm is an opportunity to weave a story about a particular time and place ...more
My interest thus piqued, I looked for a biography of this guy and came across this. Palmer give us ...more
Otherwise, I really enjoyed the book. Palmer weaves together an incredible account of this fascinating madman who (can you be ...more
Oh, and some bizarre and interesting facts about Imperial Russia.
I do feel like the cover of the book was a bit more sensational than the story itself. I really disagree with the claim on the cover that he foreshadowed the Nazis. This could be said about many historical figures. Such incredible violence is really not that rare in history. To me it seems that he was closer in his actions to his historical roots than the Nazis. ...more
Baron Ungern was an unstable person who became a very influential character in a very unstable part of world during a very unstable time -- the central Asia of the 1910-20s. Part mystic, part aristocrat, and whole lot of Hitler, thi ...more
James Palmer's a good historian with an intuitive grasp of what makes a popular history book fascinating and interesting, and he ups that by interspersing history with reports of his modern travels to the places mentioned in his story.
This is the story of Baron Roman Nickolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg - a German nobleman living in Estonia, then part of the Russian Empire, whose travels to the edges of the Russian Empire made him familiar first with the Cossacks and then the Mongols. He fig ...more
Call him Baron von Crazy Pants. Baron Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg (1885–1921) was a Czarist leader in Siberia and Mongolia during the Bolshevik revolution. A fascinating but cruel character, he cut a path of violence, pillage, torture and mayhem across this forgotten region's history.
He was an Estonian nobleman of German descent and servant of the Russian Empire, and a descendant of Baltic pirates (one of his ancestors lit false beacons on the family island north of Estonia to lure...more
I'm not going to give this five stars because it presupposes a lot of knowledge about the Russian Revolution - if I hadn't just finished Figes' monumental work many of the names here wouldn't have made any sense to me.