The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov

The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov soon to be presented for sale on the excellent BookLovers of Bath web site!

Published: London: Collins & Harvill Press, 1971, Hardback in dust wrapper.

From the cover: The time 1918. The place Kiev, capital of the Ukraine, torn by revolution and civil war. The people the Turbin family of two brothers and a sister, whose home is a calm pool of affection, warmth and humanity in a maelstrom of cold, snow, violence and sudden death. Alexei Turbin, eldest brother and head of the family, is a doctor returned from the war; his sister Elena is married to an unpleasant Baltic German who scuttles away like a rat as soon as danger threatens. The youngest is Nikolka, at seventeen just out of officer-cadet school and a volunteer in one of the scratch units manned by officers which formed the White Guard in the Ukraine. A cuckoo in their nest is their hopeless cousin from Zhitomir, Lariosik, a charming bungler who always says the wrong thing, breaks everything he touches, yet is welcomed into the Turbins charmed circle with love and kindness.

At the beginning, the Germans are still occupying Kiev, propping up the feeble regime of the Hetman Skoropadsky. Their cause lost in advance by the Hetmans ignoble defection, Alexei and Nikolka Turbin and their White Guard officer friends make a brave but futile attempt to resist the capture of Kiev by the adventurer Petlyura and his army of long-moustached, baggy-trousered, trigger-happy Ukrainian roughnecks.

Savage while it lasts, Petlyuras occupation of Kiev is at least short and as his motley troops slink away, Bulgakov coins an image of power which is the perfect antithesis to the cosy, womb-like interior of the Turbins home: on the track outside Kiev, hissing gently, waiting to grind inexorably into the city, stands the huge steel-clad articulated juggernaut of a Bolshevik armoured train.

Introduction by: Viktor Nekrasov

Good+ in Good Dust Wrapper. Edges of the dust wrapper somewhat frayed, without loss although untidy and now tape-reinforced on the verso, with sunning to the spine. Edges of the text block lightly spotted. Previous owners’ gift inscription to the first blank. Text complete, clean and tight otherwise bar for small tear at the foot of the last two leaves.

Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 320 pages. 8¾” x 5½”.

Of course, if you don’t like this one, may I enchant you with top-drawer choices hither or maybe further, hand picked, books in my Fiction Author: B catalogue?

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