PHILIP MARSDEN – Like Tolstoy's, Lesley Blanch's sense of history is ultimately convincing not because of any sweeping theses, but because of its particularities, the quirks of individuals and their personal narratives, their deluded ambitions, their vanities and passions.
THE GUARDIAN – Crammed with truly fabulous stories of fighting and love and violent death … this profound and exhilarating book turns the struggle of the people of the Caucasus to remain independent of Russia into a universal saga … it is no wonder Shamyl had such a powerful influence on Tolstoy and Pushkin.
NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW – Twentieth-century Russia is only nineteenth-century Russia writ large. Miss Blanch's book is therefore especially welcome for she has provided a gallery of Russian portraits and in the course of her story outlined Russian foreign policy through most of the nineteenth century. I can imagine no better introduction to modern Russia.
THE TIMES – A masterly account of Chechnya's struggle against 19th-century Tsarist Russia, ominously relevant to today's conflict. Lesley Blanch's portrait of Shamyl, the Chechen leader-prophet, is widely admired and she is still consulted by historians.
LE MONDE – A magnificent historical drama; a marvellous, impassioned biography of Imam Shamyl.
print & ebook : BookBlast ePublishing | January 2015 | PB 488 pages GBP 10.99 | 978-0993092725