Books + Reviews

Crimes in the Caucasus, by Thomas De Waal | Review of Oliver Bullough "Let Our Fame Be Great"

Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver BulloughopenDemocracy -- Documenting a great historical tragedy unknown to most, Oliver Bullough's new book is a fascinating and groundbreaking work. Thomas de Waal reviews "Let Our Fame Be Great".

A century and a half ago the Circassians were a people no less familiar to educated Europeans than Armenians. Rather like the Marsh Arabs or the Kuwaitis, they were caught up in a geopolitical fight much bigger than themselves, in this case the mid-19th century imperial struggle between Britain and Russia for control of the Black Sea and trade-routes to India. The romantic Russophobe Islamophile Tory MP (it is not often that these words are put together) David Urquhart supported the Circassian warriors in their struggle against the advancing Tsarist Empire. He invited a delegation of Circassian chieftains to visit England and Scotland and even used a Circassian flag as his banner in his electoral campaign for the parliamentary seat of Stafford. In this Urquhart found common cause with another Russophobe, Karl Marx. Urquhart’s and Marx’s hatred of Russian rule and support for the oppressed peoples of the Russian empire transcended their ideological differences.

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Let Our Fame be Great: Journeys Among the Defiant People of the Caucasus by Oliver Bullough

Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver BulloughTimes Online -- A sensitive, painstaking history of the peoples of the north Caucasus, ravaged by hundreds of years of uprising, conquest and deportation

The Sunday Times review by Wendell Steavenson

The Caucasus is a frontier land of high, jagged snow peaks, ruined flint fortresses and pine forests that have hidden centuries of bare-rock rebellion by warrior nations. Waves of uprising, conquest, deportation, exile and resettlement have pitted the peoples of the north Caucasus against Russia for hundreds of years and continue to do so still. Oliver Bullough’s book is a ­painstaking, sensitively reported eff­ort to knit together their lost history.

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The Circassians: a handbook by Amjad Jaimoukha

The Circassian Diaspora in Turkey: A Political History by Zeynel A. BesleneyRevied by Viacheslav A. Chirikba

Reviewed work(s): The Circassians: A Handbook by Amjad Jaimoukha
Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 65, No. 1 (2002), pp. 169-171
Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies

This is the first modern account of the Circassians, once the largest North Caucasian people, whose ancestray lies lost in the mists of time and whose territory presently makes up part of the Russian Federation. The Circassians were known to Europe and the East in the past principally because of the beauty of their women ('a fair Circassians') and the legendary bravery of their men. The Circassian Mamluks had a lasting and significant impact on Egpyt's history. But since the brutal decimation of Circassia by Imperial Russia and the forced emigration of the majority of its population to the Ottoman Empire, this nation had been mostly forgotten and neglected.

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