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Eye Surgery for a Wounded Soldier of Ungern’s Army

Avantiura ili chernyi dlia russkikh bielykh v Mongolii 1921-i god [A risky undertaking, or the black year for the Russian Whites in Mongolia in 1921].

Harbin: self-published (Khudozhestvennaia tipografiia), 1930. Octavo (17.6 × 13 cm). Contemporary buckram boards; original wrappers perished; 76, [2] pp. Frontis portrait of the author on better paper stock. About very good.

First and only Russian edition of this gruesome autobiographical narrative about the horrors of the Civil War in Mongolia. The author was an eye-witness to one of the most chilling chapters of the Russian Civil War, the rise and fall of the regime of Baron Ungern in Western Mongolia. Baron von Ungern-Sternberg (1885–1921) was a notoriously brutal military leader who remains shrouded in mystery; he drove Chinese troops out of Mongolia in 1921 with the help of White Cossacks and instituted an unprecedented reign of terror in the region before being captured and publically executed by the Red Army. The author was blinded during one of the final battles of the Ungern regime, after which the remaining fighters reached Tientsin, and reduced to living as a penniless beggar. His memoirs also appeared in English the same year, entitled "The Black Year: the White Russians in Mongolia in the year 1921" and furnished with a broadsheet in English and French, containing an appeal to Western readers. Its publication served as an attempt to collect donations to finance emergency eye surgery in Europe. The Russian preface notes that "the bloody scenes which run throughout my story may perhaps be unpleasant to the reader; perhaps the dark images of murder and brutality will trigger feelings of antipathy toward the Russian refugees. I am even quite certain of this, and yet I still cannot pass over them in silence, because the absolute majority of these people were pulled into the events against their will and convictions, as a result of the historical circumstances. Thus all responsibility must fall on the shoulders of Baron Ungern and his closest associates...." Not in Polansky. Bakich 2591. We cannot trace any copies of the book at auction in Russia or the West.

Book ID: P5870

Price: $520.00