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Setting the East Ablaze: Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia [Paperback]

Peter Hopkirk
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Mar 2006

'Let us turn our faces towards Asia', exhorted Lenin when the long-awaited revolution in Europe failed to materialize. 'The East will help us conquer the West.'

Peter Hopkirk's book tells for the first time the story of the Bolshevik attempt to set the East ablaze with the heady new gospel of Marxism. Lenin's dream was to liberate the whole of Asia, but his starting point was British India. A shadowy undeclared war followed.

Among the players in this new Great Game were British spies, Communist revolutionaries, Muslim visionaries and Chinese warlords - as well as a White Russian baron who roasted his Bolshevik captives alive.

Here is an extraordinary tale of intrigue and treachery, barbarism and civil war, whose violent repercussions continue to be felt in Central Asia today.

Frequently Bought Together

Setting the East Ablaze: Lenin's Dream of an Empire in Asia + On Secret Service East of Constantinople: The Plot to Bring Down the British Empire + The Great Game: On Secret Service in High Asia
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: John Murray; Reprint edition (27 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0719564506
  • ISBN-13: 978-0719564505
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'The stuff of a dozen adventure movies . . . everything a ripping good yarn should be' (New York Times)

'A classic example of truth outpacing fiction' (Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

'A gripping account of the terrible, confused struggle for mastery of Central Asia that followed the Russian Revolution' Evening Standard

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gem from Hopkirk 20 Feb 1999
By A Customer
The man who gave us "The Great Game" now takes us 20 or so years forward, to the era after the Russian Revolution when Lenin send his followers into Asia to spread his word. It is a dramatic, sometimes tragic, sometimes comic narrative, full of extraordinary people, most memorable of which may be Colonel Reginald Bailey, a very British spy whose disguise as a fanatical revolutionary was so successful that he was once ordered by his Communist masters to arrest himself! Anybody with an interest in history, in travel, in adventure or just in good storytelling should try to seek out Hopkirk's splendid books.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and atmospheric 17 Jan 2010
Only Peter Hopkirk could find something as obscure as this subject to write about. Set in the period from mid-way trough WWI to the beginning of WWII in Uzbekistan, Kirghistan, Mongolia, Siberia and China, it's real Boys Own stuff. However, with the Russians and Chinese involved, there are some appalling descriptions of tortures and murders.
Naturally, the Brits are the heroes and inevitably their actions are 'heroic', 'daring' and 'benign'. None of this takes away from what is a great story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 18 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this for my father, a Russophile. However, I read it before passing t to him and it covers a quite fascinating and untold period of Soviet history in excellent prose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! 11 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great and exciting book! I love history, read a lot, fascinated by the revolution and the Russian Civil War, but these stories were completely new for me, the setting, the events are amazing, most of the times it felt like I'm reading a spy-novel. I'm pretty sure I'm going to read more from Peter Hopkirk sooner than later! The only flaw of the book is it's length, I could have read a couple of hundred pages more!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Setting the East Ablaze 25 April 2010
Having read the other Hopkirk books about the "Great Game" I was looking forward to this "last chapter". However, it seems to be more about the aftershocks of the civil war between the Whites & Reds in the 20's & 30's than a specific imperial clash/exploration that the previous books detailed. It was nevertheless a very revealing book and I realise now that the utter barbarity of the eastern front in WW2 had its roots in the events covered by this book. So, good but not another "Great Game" book.
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