To Break Russia's Chains: Boris Savinkov and His Wars Against the Tsar and the Bolsheviks

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$29.95  $27.85
Pegasus Books
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.1 X 1.9 inches | 1.76 pounds

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About the Author
Vladimir Alexandrov received a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Princeton. He taught Russian literature and culture at Harvard before moving to Yale, where he is B.E. Bensinger Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures. He is the author of The Black Russian as well as books on Bely, Nabokov, and Tolstoy, and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
"The importance of Boris Savinkov and his controversial role in the Russian Revolution and Civil War have been overlooked recently, but this excellent and well-written biography by Professor Alexandrov should do much to reawaken interest in his extraordinary life."--Antony Beevor "author of STALINGRAD"
Praise for The Black Russian--One of San Francisco Chronicle's Top Ten Nonfiction Books of 2013

"Magnetizing and unforgettable . . . In his assiduously researched, prodigiously descriptive, fluently analytical, and altogether astonishing work of resurrection, Alexandrov provides uniquely focused accounts of racial struggles in America and decadence and bloodshed in Europe and Russia while insightfully and dynamically portraying a singular man." -- "Booklist (starred review)"
"Boris Savinkov was one of the most colourful, notorious and enigmatic figures in revolutionary Russia - a flamboyant hero to some, an untrustworthy villain to others. Extraordinarily influential in his lifetime - and still a legendary figure in Russia - this complex individual has been all-but forgotten in the West. Vladimir Alexandrov's superb biography provides a page-turning account of Savinkov's roller-coaster life, as well as throwing valuable new light on the history of the Russian state."--Giles Milton, best-selling author of Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare and D-Day
"The extraordinary life of Boris Savinkov--revolutionary assassin, self-described terrorist, and novelist--is one of those historical enigmas peculiar to the tragedy of modern Russia. But in the hands of this masterful biographer, Savinkov is resurrected. Vladimir Alexandrov expertly mines the archives to write a spy story filled with intrigue, passion and improbable adventures--and along the way we learn a great deal of history. A formidable achievement."

--Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize winning historian, the Director of the Leon Levy Center for Biography and the author most recently of The Outlier: The Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter.
"Marshalling a large cast of characters and a mountain of research into a fluid narrative, Alexandrov clarifies the complex dynamics of the Russian Revolution. This trenchant biography gives its fascinating subject his due."-- "Publishers Weekly"
"A controversial figure in Russian history earns an impassioned, long-overdue treatment. This thoroughgoing biography builds [Savinkov's] story with meticulous, novelistic detail...Throughout this fascinating historical biography, Alexandrov demonstrates his facility with the Soviet archives, delivering a scholarly yet accessible work perfect for library collections. A painstaking work of archival research that unearths little-known details of early Soviet history."-- "Kirkus, Starred Review"
"This compelling study distils a great deal of research into a fast-paced narrative [that] reads like a political is a story Alexandrov tells with aplomb."-- "Times Literary Supplement"
"This excellent study expertly chronicles the complexities of the Russian Revolution and the Civil War through the extraordinary life of Boris Savinkov...The breadth of Alexandrov's research is highly impressive as is his large cast of characters, whom he handles very deftly. This very welcome biography now brings Savinkov's adventures to a whole new audience."-- "History of War"
"Alexandrov's biography is well worth reading for its depiction of the real feel of the historical situation and for the complexity of a historical character like Savinkov, whose life spanned a whole chapter of Russian history." -- "The American Conservative"
"A thorough and detailed study. One of the more remarkable lives in an era of remarkable lives. Alexandrov wonders just what might have been had Savinkov's last plot not been thwarted...a question worth asking."-- "The Los Angeles Review of Books"
"In Vladimir Alexandrov's To Break Russia's Chains we are offered a poignant idea of what 'might have been' in the last century of history if Savinkov's struggle for a democratic Russia had succeeded....Alexandrov presents Savinkov in all his complexity, particularly the blind spots which sank so many of his efforts."-- "Washington Independent Review of Books"
"To Break Russia's Chains is well-written, often gripping. Spies, double deals, subterfuge, plots, arrests, escapes, and revolutionary acts abound across its 500 pages. Alexandrov offers the best conclusion for understanding Savinkov's remarkable life and ultimate fate: 'as is often the case, what happened was the exact opposite of what he expected.'"-- "Origins"