Traces the story of the Cossacks from the time of Ivan the Terrible, through the uprisings of the Volga pirate Stenka Razin and the imposter Pugachev, to the harnessing of the Cossack Hosts to the Tsarist cause. Ure has used his experience as a travel writer to pick out the most dramatic stories from rich vein of Cossack legend.
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Cossacks! It's one of those magical, exotic words from distant memories, conjuring up vague but potent images of dashing horsemen, ruthless warriors, terrifying enemies. But the Cossacks are not merely the stuff of a dimming history. Since the fall of the USSR, Cossack organisations have been flourishing across its former territories; there are university departments for the study of Cossack history and customs and summer camps devoted to training aspiring young Cossacks in the ancient chivalric (or more cynically, military) skills. In the last decade, Cossack reservists have appeared in military trouble-spots: Krasnodar, Moldova, North Ossetia, Bosnia (assisting their Serbian "brethren"), Tajikistan and Chechenia. No matter how contrived the Cossack renaissance might be, it's for real and for many it's deeply alarming. John Ure is a retired diplomat who knows the region, the history and how to convey that knowledge elegantly and economically. One of the old school, he knows a good story when he sees it--and the Cossacks have good stories in spades. Ure details this elusive tribe's sometimes bewilderingly inconsistent history--one year, feared rebels of the Tsarist state; the next, ruthless enforcers of the Tsarist status quo-- through their repression under Stalin, to their ongoing re-emergence. As with so many of the world's current political situations, grasping the history is everything (or it's certainly alleged to be) and The Cossacksbrings us a step nearer to understanding one enduring, and still growing, legend. -- Alan StewartReview:
'Large, sumptuous....the illustrations are colourful and beautifully reproduced, well researched and detailed' -- Miniature Wargames
'This is a fresh, sensual history...Ure's storytelling has the dash to cope with the subject' -- The Spectator
'Ure's book is cheerful and eloquently written...and it is never boring' -- Daily Mail
'a book of startling beauty...depicted in a brilliant range of words and pictures' -- Oxford Times
'a rattling good yarn of lawless origins, martial exploits, and reckless adventures...an excellent introduction to the subject' -- The Daily Telegraph
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Book Description Constable, London, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Plates plus map (illustrator). 1st Edition. 8vo. New. Bookseller Inventory # 018743