Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lunacy, politics and war

From the Daily Telegraph, a review by Simon Sebag Montefiore of James Palmer's The Bloody White Baron, a biography of the extraordinary Baron Ungern-Sternberg - rightly described by Sebag Montefiore as a 'meteoric nutter'.  Ungern-Sternberg's story is concisely summarised in the book's synopsis:

'Roman Ungern von Sternberg was a Baltic aristocrat, a violent, headstrong youth posted to the wilds of Siberia and Mongolia before the First World War. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the Baron - now in command of a lethally effective rabble of cavalrymen - conquered Mongolia, the last time in history a country was seized by an army mounted on horses. He was a Kurtz-like figure, slaughtering everyone he suspected of irreligion or of being a Jew.'  Unsurprisingly, his reign was short-lived. 

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