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Mannerheim: President, Soldier, Spy [Hardcover]

Jonathan Clements
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Nov 2009
Baron Gustaf Mannerheim was one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century, and the only man to be decorated by both sides in the Second World War. As a Finnish officer in Russian service, he witnessed the coronation of the last Tsar, and was both reprimanded for foolhardiness and decorated for bravery in the Russo-Japanese War. He spent two years undercover in Asia as an agent in the ‘Great Game’, posing as a Swedish anthropologist. He crossed China on horseback, stopping en route to teach the 13th Dalai Lama how to shoot with a pistol, and spying on the Japanese navy on his way home. He escaped the Bolsheviks by the skin of his teeth in 1917, arriving in the newly independent Finland just in time to lead the anti-Russian forces in the local revolt and civil war. During Finland’s darkest hour, he lead the defence of his country against the impossible odds of the Winter War. This major new life of Gustaf Mannerheim, the first to be published for over a decade, includes new historical material on Mannerheim’s time in China.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Haus Publishing (30 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906598266
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906598266
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 14.2 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 762,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jonathan Clements is the author of many books on East Asian history, including biographies of emperors and empresses, statesmen and warriors, foreign visitors and outcast rebels. His works have been translated into over a dozen languages, including French, Spanish, Korean and Dutch, and he achieved a rare distinction when his book on the First Emperor of China was itself published in Chinese.

Product Description


"...the author has combined that knowledge of a historian with the accessibility of a novelist. I hadn't heard much about Finland's Gustaf Mannerheim before, but I am certainly intrigued to read more about his fascinating life."

About the Author

Jonathan Clements has written biographies of Mao, Confucius and most recently of Wellington Koo and Prince Saionji in the Makers of the Modern World series. He lives and works in Finland and London.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuously illustrated 6 Feb 2010
I do NOT like history. It was the subject that least interested me at school, but Mr Clements books continue to intrigue me in this area.

I have had the pleasure of reading several of Mr Clements historical tomes now and this is one of the best (they're all good actually). He takes the dry facts and weaves a truly spell binding tale- it grips you like a thriller at times! Sumptuously illustrated with rare photos, and exact in it's details, you can see the exhaustive research on every page. I really had trouble putting this book down once I had started to read it.

Whether you've heard of Mannerheim or not, you'll wish you'd met him after you've read this book, he's certainly a man who not only lived in interesting times, he made them interesting and this book brings it out all with engaging authorship. Highly recommended.

If only history had been THIS interesting at school, then I'd have paid more attention.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and entertaining 22 Mar 2010
Very highly recommended: interesting, informative and entertaining. A book of history even for those who wouldn't think of themselves as history readers. Clements has a great eye for spotting the humorous and amusing, even in the tragic. He finds many such incidents that keep this book moving at a brisk pace, without being too breezy. It sets out in clear terms the international situation for the events he recounts and achieves a fine balance between the big picture and the personal. Clements also does good work in spelling out the peculiar position of Finland from the 19th to the mid-20th century. Well researched and documented and with a fine selection of photographs that keep company with the text. The publisher might have positioned the maps more usefully, but this and other minor quibbles about the layout do not really detract from what is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding book.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb! 14 Sep 2011
By J. Coy
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I just have to say that this is an exceptional biography of an extraordinarily exceptional man - a perfect read also for insight into the history of Finland for the first half of the 2oth century. A captivating book in all respects and very well illustrated throughout. Mannerheim was truly one of the greatest men of the century.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Genius 24 Oct 2011
By John
I guess it would be difficult to write a book that wasnt interesting about this man, a National Hero of Finland. IT presents both sides to his reputation and gives a good depth to the political, social and economic world in which he lived and how he enabled a tiny nation to succeed against the odds, The best book I have read this year by far
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finland's Churchill 28 July 2010
Reads like an action adventure novel.
Mannerheim keeps trying to retire, but the phone rings and Finland is invaded (again) and he's away to the rescue!
Imagine having Hitler turning up as a surprise guest at your birthday party... what a life.
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