Saturday, April 30, 2011

'The fate of Admiral Kolchak'

I recently purchased and read this interesting book 'The fate of Admiral Kolchak', (ISBN 1 84158 138 0). Written by Peter Fleming (brother of Ian Fleming, of James Bond fame) it was first published in 1963. My copy is a 2001 reprint.

The story of Admiral Kolchak, former commander of the Black Sea fleet, and Supreme Commander of the White Russian forces, is interesting but tragic. The book provides an overview of the circumstances that lay behind the Allied intervention in Russia in 1918-1920, and hence the circumstances behind Kolchak's acession to power (albeit very briefly). The style of the writing and the vocabulary might seem to the modern reader to be a little dated, but the book rewards perseverance with a reasonable understanding of the events that lead to Kolchak's ultimate demise. The book is short on detail in some areas, and provided little coverage of the campaigns of Kolchak's forces in Siberia. That however was probably never the writer's intention. Fleming does however succeed in painting a brief picture of the barbarity that epitomises civil wars in general.

The book is worth reading if you have an interest in the Russian Civil War.

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