Synopses & Reviews
Part travelogue, part history, Let Our Fame Be Great tells the stories of the forgotten peoples of the Caucasus region, an incredible cultural crossroads where Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Turkey and the Middle East meet. The area was once the home of the Golden Fleece and Prometheus place of exile, and later inspired Pushkin and Lermontov, but its rich history has been overshadowed by decades of guerrilla warfare. Now, it is better known to us for the struggle in Chechnya and the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia. Traveling through history and throughout this tumultuous region, journalist and Russia expert Oliver Bullough details the major eventsfrom nineteenth-century Tsarist expansionism to the modern day struggles in Chechnya and South Ossetiathat have shaped this fascinating land and its people: the Chechens, Nogais, Circassians, mountain Turks, and Ingush who have been consistently besiegedand woefully overlookedfor nearly two hundred years.
"In this grim exploration of some of history's less publicized tragedies, Bullough, who has reported for Reuters from the Caucasus, covers two centuries of conflict between a remorseless Russian military machine and the proud, warlike, anarchic peoples of the Caucasus Mountains. The crimes he chronicles are vast — the 1864 expulsion of a million Circassians; Stalin's deportations of 'Mountain Turks' to Central Asia; Putin's 'war of complete savagery' in Chechnya. Bullough tries to convey both their epic scale and their impact on individual victims. His firsthand reporting of the Chechnya conflict is especially evocative, and he adds softer interludes that humanize the material: a survey of Russian Romantic writings about the Caucasus, a vivid profile of 19th-century Chechen guerrilla leader Imam Shamil, visits with Caucasian expatriates. Nevertheless, this overstuffed saga of suffering and injustice can grow dreary. The brutality of Russia's army and officialdom is eternal, while the many ethnicities they oppress blur together, and we get no vivid sense of the cultures that inspire their dogged resistance and nonconformity. 16 pages of photos, maps. (Aug. 3)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"[An] impressive debut....Wonderful travel history....With this impassioned volume [Bullough] has struck a blow for the glory of the Caucasus and helped to give voice to the voiceless." Financial Times
“Bullough should be congratulated on his brave and tireless investigations into an under-reported region of the world.” New Statesman
"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." Sunday Times(UK)
"How much do you want or need to understand about a far-off place of which we know little? More than you would think, to judge by the enthusiasm of Oliver Bullough, who brings us exciting news, presented as short, gripping stories that tell of the terrible things that happen to people caught up in constant warfare, who have long struggled for survival and suffered not only diaspora but enforced deportation. The history of their resistance and resilience has been largely unknown for two centuries. Now their stories are sung by a champion and will resound beyond their boundaries." Times(UK)
“A gripping, often sanguinary account of the history, culture and current status of the people for whom the Caucasus has been home, battleground and slaughterhouse... this is a fearless examination of a brutal place... A remarkably illuminating window into a world of neglected people and deleted history.” Kirkus (Starred Review)
The jagged peaks of the Caucasus Mountains have hosted a rich history of diverse nations, valuable trade, and incessant warfare. But today the region is best known for atrocities in Chechnya and the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.
In Let Our Fame Be Great, journalist and Russian expert Oliver Bullough explores the fascinating cultural crossroads of the Caucasus, where Europe, Asia, and the Middle East intersect. Traveling through its history, Bullough tracks down the nations dispersed by the regions last two hundred years of brutal warfare. Filled with a compelling mix of archival research and oral history, Let Our Fame Be Great recounts the tenacious survival of peoples who have been relentlessly invaded and persecuted and yet woefully overlooked.
In a transfixing blend of history and travelogue, a journalist tells the harrowing story of the forgotten peoples of the Caucasus
About the Author
Oliver Bullough studied modern history at Oxford University before moving to St. Petersburg, Bishkek, and Moscow. Writing for local newspapers and then for Reuters news agency, he reported from Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan. He now lives in Hackney, East London.