As he did in The Black Russian, his 2013 biography of Frederick Bruce Thomas, the son of formerly enslaved Mississippians who became a millionaire nightclub owner in pre-1917 Moscow, Alexandrov combines brilliant research and brisk storytelling to tell the story of Boris Savinkov (1879–1925), a notorious Russian terrorist of the first quarter of the twentieth century. While today only specialists in modern Russian history and literature are likely to recognize Savinkov's name, in his day he was an international celebrity, feted in the pages of leading European and American newspapers for a lifetime of resistance to both tsarist and Bolshevik tyranny. Although praise for a man who organized the assassination of government ministers and members of the Romanov family may seem perverse to contemporary American readers, especially those who have come of age since 9/11, being reminded that “the past is a foreign country” is always a useful exercise....
To Break Russia's Chains: Boris Savinkov and His Wars against the Tsar and the Bolsheviks
Anthony Anemone, professor emeritus of Russian at the New School, is the editor of Just Assassins: The Culture of Terrorism in Russia and cotranslator and editor of “I Am a Phenomenon Quite Out of the Ordinary”: The Notebooks, Diaries, and Letters of Daniil Kharms.
Anthony Anemone; To Break Russia's Chains: Boris Savinkov and His Wars against the Tsar and the Bolsheviks. Common Knowledge 1 January 2023; 29 (1): 129–130. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0961754X-10333045
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