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 events—from nineteenth-century Tsarist expansionism to the modern day struggles in Chechnya and South Ossetia—that have shaped this fascinating land and its people: the Chechens, Nogais, Circassians, mountain Turks, and Ingush who have been consistently besieged—and woefully overlooked—for nearly two hundred years.
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Oliver Bullough studied modern history at Oxford University before moving to Russia in 1999. He lived in St Petersburg, Bishkek and Moscow over the next seven years, working as a journalist for local magazines and newspapers and then for Reuters news agency. He reported from all over Russia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, but liked nothing more than to work among the peoples and mountains of the North Caucasus. He moved back to Britain in 2006, and now lives in Hackney, East London.Review:
"[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."
“Bullough should be congratulated on his brave and tireless investigations into an under-reported region of the world.”
"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."
"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."
Norman Stone, Director of the Center for Russian Studies at Bilkent University, and author of The Atlantic and Its Enemies and World War One
“This wonderful, moving book flashes backwards and forwards over a terrain almost impossible to survey, and manages the feat.”
Orlando Figes, author of The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia and A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
“Lively and impassioned... a tragically neglected corner of our world.”
“Let Our Fame Be Great is a treat. It is finely bound, with excellent maps, and Bullough draws you irresistibly into his narrative, fusing reportage, history and travelogue in colourful, absorbing prose..... He tells a brilliant story, interweaving personal reportage with impressive reading, both in the Caucasus and its far-flung diaspora.”
Kirkus (Starred Review)
“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.”
The Economist (UK)
“Oliver Bullough’s first book marks him out as a distinguished researcher, observer and narrator....His research is formidable.” Financial Times (London)“A courageous young journalist illuminates one of the world’s most ethnically and culturally diverse regions. His travels and historical back-stories show that contemporary brutality in Chechnya is nothing new, and reminds us of the fate of whole nations such as the Circassians, scattered to the winds by Russian imperialism.” The New Republic
“[I]mpressively researched and devastating... Bullough’s book combines intimate personal accounts, formidable historical research, and first-hand observations collected during years of reporting in the region into a heart-scraping testimony of Russia’s systematic and deliberate brutality in the North Caucasus—and the cruel acts of terror that it continues to provoke.” Christian Science Monitor“[C]ompelling. . . . As Bullough dashes and darts us through the amazing and forgotten episodes of the region, we see that this is a book of discoveries... cultural history filtered through the eyes and heart of a bright and earnest young writer... fresh and vital, admiring and frustrated.” The Sunday Times (London) Books of the Year“Oliver Bullough...clearly put his heart and soul into his grand, furious Let Our Fame Be Great.” Times Literary Supplement (London)“Let Our Fame Be Great is a beautifully written piece of reportage intertwined with historical narrative.” The Scotsman“[A]s Bullough shows time and again in a book that effortlessly mixes on-the-spot reportage and a wide-ranging history, though the Caucasian highlanders' suffering has been great, their fame has not.” The Guardian (London)“Raw, romantic, almost Byronic” The Explorer’s Journal “[Bullough] bravely entered this dangerous, haunted region to learn about and tell the sad, brutal story of war, genocide, and survival. . . . More than simply chronicle the destruction, Bullough explores the culture, literature, history, and personalities to present a more rounded portrait of the region."
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