Book Review--The Sabres of Paradise

by Administrator4. March 2013 17:31

I am very seldom fascinated by the books I come across anymore. I have voraciously read since I was four years old, and have enjoyed a great variety of different genres, styles and worldviews. Lately however, the crop I harvested from bestseller lists and other literary rankings has been disappointing to say the least. Therefore I have refused to recommend books to other readers, no matter how often I am prompted to do so.

So imagine my great joy and almost palpable delight when I followed the suggestions of a writer reviewing at the Wall Street Journal and imported two hard-to-come-by selections through my local library.

Today I will talk about the “Sabres of Paradise” by Lesley Blanch. Anyone who loves history, drama, great research and an interesting writing style will find this book a wonderful read.

The author provides us a marvelous introduction into the Tsarist Russia of the 19th-century, by painting a vivid picture of the Great Caucasus War that raged from 1834 until 1859. Central to this war are the mountain tribes of Daghestan and Chechnya under the leadership of the ‘Lion of Daghestan’ Imam Shamyl. If one truly wants to understand today’s separation agonies between Russia and its former Muslim Soviet Republics one should read this book.

The book hearkens back to the Tsarist conquest of the Caucasus, Georgia, Tartary and Chechnya. I have researched a great part of these conquests when I wrote “Catherine” the first part of the Trilogy ‘The Volga Flows Forever,’ and can vouch for the authenticity of the subject matter discussed.

I found this to be a fascinating read—vivid, epic and heroic—interspersed with alluring tidbits of Russian and Caucasian everyday lives.

This is a book I can wholeheartedly recommend to the discerning reader; however, commit yourself to a lengthy read.  






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About the author

Born in Germany in 1941, Sigrid Weidenweber remembers the horrific aftermath of Fascism. At the end of the war, she found herself living under Communism. Both of these totalitarian regimes left indelible marks on her psyche and a healthy distrust of government’s, usurping too many powers to control people, supposedly for their own good. After the Berlin Wall was built, she managed to escape the repressive environment with the help of friends and a French passport. To this day she does not speak French.

She holds degrees in medical technology, psychology and an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Concordia University of Portland, Oregon for her trilogy "The Volga Flows Forever."

 Her first published book, “Escaping the Twilight,” deals with aspects of medical anthropology in an Islamic culture. In her trilogy the Volga Flows Forever, she brings to life Catherine the Great in her multiple roles as monarch, woman--lover, mother, grandmother and head of the general staff of the army, in volume one. The following two historical volumes deal with the Volga Germans brought to Russia by Catherine's edict.  The last book, “From Gulag to Freedom,” describes the lives of Russian-Germans and minority populations under Stalin’s regime and the systematic eradication of these minorities. The last part of the book is a comparison of communism, Russia, versus free enterprise in the USA. The heroin of the book settles in Fresno, California.

Three years ago she moved to Santa Rosa Valley, California from Portland Oregon. She has passionately embraced California together with her family that also resides here.

Always active, lecturing on historical and anthropological subjects and being a part of arts and culture in Portland, Oregon, she bestrode the same path when she came to California and is active on the Northwest Symphony League Board.

At present she is writing a memoir of her early childhood during WW I and later young adulthood under Communism.


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