❴Reading❵ ➿ The Bloody White Baron Author James Palmer – Dailytradenews.co.uk

The Bloody White Baron quotes The Bloody White Baron, litcharts The Bloody White Baron, symbolism The Bloody White Baron, summary shmoop The Bloody White Baron, The Bloody White Baron 5fa9df37 The Bloody White Baron Roman Ungern Von Sternberg Was A Baltic Aristocrat, A Violent, Headstrong Youth Posted To The Wilds Of Siberia And Mongolia Before The First World War After The Bolshevik Revolution, The Baron Conquered Mongolia, The Last Time In History A Country Was Seized By An Army Mounted On Horses Full Description

10 thoughts on “The Bloody White Baron

  1. says:

    My name is surrounded by such hate and fear that no one can judge what is the truth and what is false, what is history and what is myth. Baron Roman von Ungern SternbergThis is a rollicking history about a forgotten section of a war in a distant corner of the earth, with entertaining digressions into Mongolian society, Buddhist mythology Mongolian Buddhism is a far cry from Tibetan , and a biography of one of the strangest historical figures of the Russian Civil War Baron Roman von Ungern Sternberg was a Baltic German aristocrat who served in the Russian Army during the First World War He had little success in his earlier academic and military career, but felt admiration for the steppe peoples, especially the Cossacks He won awards for his almost suicidal bravery, although he had no tolerance for the discipline of army life.After the 1917 Revolution, he went with fellow officers to the far east supposedly to defend the Russian Monarchy and join the White armies which would fight the Red Communists However, the Baron had other plans He had long harbored dreams of reviving the Mongolian Empire, and took steps to entrench himself in that kingdom by reinstating the Khan and driving out the Chinese.What followed afterwards was that our protagonist went completely bonkers The Mad Baron wore Mongol dress, draped talismans around his neck, spoke about prophecies and conspiracies, led cavalry charges against machine guns and even won for a time , and began a reign of terror among the civilian population and any Communists who were sent his way After two years of terror, he was captured and executed in 1921.As morbidly entertaining this book is, it has some horrible errors in basic historical fact The swastika was not considered an anti Semitic symbol until the 1930s and its association with Nazism, certainly not in a predominantly Buddhist country some twenty years earlier There are multiple misquotations and wrong dates, and someone with a greater specialty in Mongol history no doubt would find worse.This was, in its own way, a bizarrely fun book, which combined lurid history with a nice travelogue of Mongolia which the author uses to fill up a few points of background Don t try and build a thesis off of it.

  2. says:

    It s OK, I guess Palmer s actually a pretty colorful writer, but the problem with his subject, Baron Ungern Sternberg, is that there s not a whole lot of reliable documentation on him as a person There s little doubt that the Baron was a psychopath, but the Devil is in the lack of concrete details The setting, post WW 1 Mongolia, is about as distant as it gets Add in to that the murky murderous stew of competing powers Red Russians, White Russians, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolians, soldiers of fortune , and it s pretty much impossible, other than the general outlines of what actually occurred, to figure out who was killing who at any given time Because there s so little on the Baron, the book feels very padded with information that is sometimes of interest and sometimes so far afield that you the sense the author trying to reach some sort of page count The Baron, in Palmer s hands, comes across as a weird combination of Fu Manchu, Kurtz, and Vlad the Impaler, but without the charm of any of them That may be accurate, but it s not all that well sourced, unless you feel comfortable with It was said. umpteen number of times Given Palmer s obvious writing ability, I kind of wished he would of considered mining this story, and turning it into some sort of Pulp Horror novel.

  3. says:

    I have always been interested in Mongolia, because of its remoteness from Europe, its inaccessibility, and its obscurity Until recently, it was a country as impenetrable as, say, North Korea, but now that is no longer the case.I never dreamt that I would ever treat Mongolian patients or would work with Mongolian dental assistants many of them are dentists trained in Mongolia , but now I do So, when someone on Goodreads, having read my brief review of The Russian Fascists Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925 1945, recommended The Bloody White Baron, I ordered it immediately.The Baron, Ungern Sternberg, the villainous hero of the book was born in Graz Austria and brought up in the now popular Estonian tourist destination Tallinn formerly Reval His family were Baltic Germans with a heritage extending back to the German warlords who expanded the German lands eastwards in mediaeval times He is also supposed to have had some connection with the Imperial Russian royal family He regarded himself first and foremost as a Russian, and this accounts for his intense disappointment with the fall of the Tsar and the eventual rise of the Bolsheviks.The Baron became a fanatic member of the White Armies opposed to the Bolsheviks, and was active militarily in the Russian Far East.Imbued with a fascination with mysticism and also Buddhism, and also realising that the White armies were losing ground to the Bolshevik Red Army, he entered Mongolia, hoping to rouse the Mongolians and other eastern Asians such as the Buriats into reviving the conquering hordes of Genghis Khan His plan, briefly summarised, was to overrun Russia and the West and to re establish ther rule of the Tsar.The plot thickens as Ungern Sternberg has to deal with the Chinese occupiers of Mongolia and a wide variety of other opponents And as the plot thickens, so does the Baron s cruel behaviour Eventually, the Baron becomes the de facto military ruler of Mongolia, but not for long.All of this and much that I have not mentioned, one could imagine, should make for exciting reading However, although James Palmer was able to interest me, he was unable to excite me in his The Bloody White Baron.On the back of the book, Colin Thubron is quoted as having said, A wonderfully lucid resurrection of a forgotten history and its terrible protagonist James Palmer here establishes himself both as scholar and writer. This may be apt, but I found the book s style to be dry, and I would question that the book really does establish the author as a writer , at least not one, whose writing attracts me He is not an Alistair Horne or a Thomas Pakenham, who are both writers of history whose scholarly works read like good novels.The book lacks illustrations apart from those on the dust jacket This is a pity considering that the author did visit Mongolia and also must have had access to old photographs in the material that he researched To summarise, this book is about fascinating subject, but, sadly, it is written uninterestingly.

  4. says:

    The subject of this book is a vicious anti semitic Baltic aristocrat, Baron Ungern Sternberg, who briefly flared up as a murderous precursor of national socialist ethnic cleansing in Mongolia in the chaos of the post revolutionary struggle for control of the Russian Empire.As with the tale of Colonel Despard recently reviewed by us another marginal figure in another empire at another time , an individual outlier from the norm is an opportunity to weave a story about a particular time and place and permit us to make our own judgements about history.The comparison with Despard is instructive the tale of a fundamentally honourable and good man out manouevred by the special interests of a coalescing and rising empire is a fitting contrast to a fundamentally evil and cruel man trying to cope with the crumbling of a falling empire.Here, in two books, we have the best of humanity and the worst of it We see contrasted, in the Despard book, the worst aspects of society when it is in the hands of the calculating few but what happens when society has no rudder in this one.The often equally murderous but less gratuitously cruel Bolsheviks though that changes with time in a general deterioration of conduct at least occasionally appear disciplined and engaged in their struggle through something other than fear of the lash.In the never ending and futile debate about whether traditionalist anti semitic slaughtering was equal, better or worse than Bolshevik class killing and military ruthlessness, this book tends to suggest that Bolshevism was the lesser evil at least in 1920 1921.What Palmer does is put Ungern Sternberg into context as an extreme member of a brutal class of aristocrats and militarists whose treatment of its peasantry was explanation and justification enough for revolution, if not for Bolshevism.It was fashionable amongst Western liberals in the wake of the Thatcher Reagan revolution to produce accounts of Bolshevism that were intended to shift it into the camp of pure evil with the implicit intent of making the Atlantic liberal response to it something close to pure good.This was simplistic and never tenable It systematically covered up the crimes of Western liberal imperialism and expansion and the destructive effects of capitalism and it offered wholly retrospective views of men and women operating with weak information and trapped by circumstances.Bolshevism turned into something monstrous and brutal, as did most of its successor movements, before turning into something dull and sclerotic but it arose for a reason, filled a power vacuum for a reason, held the State for a reason and collapsed for a reason.To moralise a historically about these stages, especially the attempt to disconnect the second stage from the first and not recognise that the third was not quite so awful as the second though still pretty grim is to educate the student poorly.It should not be a case of exclaiming oh, how awful but why so awful and what this awfulness teaches us about the human race under conditions of both tyranny and anarchy The moralising strikes me as an attempt to deny horrible truths about our species by bien pensant liberals.This story is a case in point because the charge sheet is not only one of viciousness by Ungern Sternberg or indeed of the Bolsheviks but by his lieutenants and which will surprise many a gentle Californian bien pensant the poverty stricken Buddhist cultures of the steppe.Ungern Sternberg s ostensible boss in the region, his friend Semenov, was really just a louche pleasure loving gangster with no interest in ideology or cruelty for its own sake A night in Semenov s harem coach must have been fun and it is interesting that our cruel anti hero seems to have had no interest in sex at all Beware politicians and soldiers with no interest in sexual play Semenov was the type of the self seeking opportunistic gangster warlord that emerged as order collapsed thanks, in great part, to Western incursions in China and Russia, from Siberia through Manchuria and into China proper, in the early 1920s.This was what threatened Russia briefly in the early 1990s when the Soviet system collapsed and this should be remembered by Western liberal critics of Putin There is a history to his re assertion of order Ordinary people are never are served by any sudden collapse in state authority.But, around Ungern Sternberg, were men of such sadistic cruelty, that they would be fair warning of the type who would emerge again within the SS and the Bolshevik Secret Police, in the security services of the Post War World and who once existed in the penal and slavery systems of the West.The excesses of these people, recounted by Palmer who allows for exaggerations by their captors and those who write history are supposed, conventionally, to shock us I won t reveal their cruelties here but they should not This is us humanity under certain conditions of power.This less charitable view of the human condition under conditions of warlord anarchy and war can be matched by a similar view under conditions of poverty The excesses of Whites and Reds and there were good men on both sides come down to a desperate struggle in chaos and poverty for survival.The book is extremely good on the political reality of Buddhism feudal, corrupt, murderous, filled with obscurantism, deeply exploitative of the population, opportunistic over the acquisition and maintenance of power Buddhism is certainly not unique in this and there were many good and holy monks but this practical reality of the role of organised religion under conditions of feudal poverty explains the reasonable claims of Communists to be progressive in their invasions of such countries.This is not to say that Communist slaughter of the monks and despoliation of their treasures were not extreme acts equal to those of the Taliban at Bamiyan but that there was a long history to these acts that Western liberals would do well to consider as explanation though not justification.Above all, the fluffy approach to Buddhism that extends a serious religious practice that is extremely demanding and has great truths to offer into silly sexual play, romantic idealism around the cuddly Dalai Lama and a cod eco internationalism could do with some lessons in history.This book is worth reading alone for opening our eyes to what organised religion often really is all about in very poor societies maintaining order through a pact with nobles to exploit the population and using surplus capital for ostentatious display to assert their spiritual authority.Mongolia during the extremely short and brutal period of Ungern Sternberg s attempt to create the base for a new Mongolian Empire was a cesspit of cruelty, exploitation and obscurantism and the Mongolians, like all peoples, deserved better.Palmer also shows how Ungern Sternberg foreshadowed the Nazis in their thinking and this should not be a surprise in the context of the day The neurotic ideology of the Baltic Russo Germans were part of a general Slavic intellectual irrationalism that resulted in the useful and poisonous Protocols of the Elders of Zion but the intellectual climate was not, in Russia, so much one of nationalism as monarchic traditionalism.This is a complex issue that is not the core subject of the book and should not be essayed here but understanding it involves understanding how modernisation disrupted exploitative agrarian economies in Eastern Europe and Russia and the role that Jews as traders and intellectuals played in that.Any analysis must take into account the self identity of an aristocratic class that genuinely considered itself innately rather than contingently superior, much as Western imperialists came to think of themselves as innately superior to people with different coloured skins and cultures.Palmer is right to present Ungern Sternberg in Mongolia as, in effect, a testing ground for reaction to modernisation.National socialist Germany under Hitler rather than other national socialists created a perfect opportunity to express the revolt against modernisation in modernising terms as a technologically based attempt to seize empire in the Western manner and crush the modernisers.The Baltic German elite, once their world had been crushed and defeated by Communism, became vectors of resentment and revenge against both Bolshevism and Jewry with an ideology of restored aristocracy but for race and Fuhrer rather than failed Tsar.Like so many dangerous forces within state and empires, they came from the margins and, having failed in one project, merely transferred to another and refined their cruelties into what would later become a system of organised extermination This is the world of Alfred Rosenberg.A recommended book not for its ostensible subject a rather interesting unhinged but nasty and dim witted minor aristocrat let loose under anarchic conditions but for what the adventures of such a man tell us about humanity and society as old worlds crumble and new world are born.We are in the midst of such a period now An old world is crumbling and a new world is being born and we have to watch out for ourselves as the solutions being offered to us swing between tyranny and anarchy, giving opportunities to men like Ungern Sternberg to express themselves in blood.

  5. says:

    You ve probably never heard of the Baron Ungern Sternberg I came across a passing reference of him while reading The World on Fire 1919 and the Battle with Bolshevism last year something about him claiming to be a reincarnation of Genghis Khan, declaring that he would kill every Jew in Russia, making human torches out of his victims and vowing to make an avenue of gallows from Siberia to Europe My interest thus piqued, I looked for a biography of this guy and came across this Palmer give us a good portrait of a delusional psychopath and aristocratic misfit that failed at everything he tried until he found his true calling warfare and genocide on the most colossal and bizarre scale possible Sternberg also kept wolves in his house Once, he paused in the middle of a hostile city during a reconnaissance mission to berate an enemy sentry for falling asleep on duty.Perhaps fittingly, many of Sternberg s ancestors had backgrounds as unsavory as him Otto von Ungern Sternberg 1744 1811 was a wrecker he used false lights to lure ships onto the harsh rocks of Hiiumaa island, then killed the surviving crew and plundered the cargo It seems that the Baron was a worthy successor.When the Russian Civil War broke out, it was characterized by a depraved frenzy of daily atrocities by the Reds and the equally fanatical Whites This environment suited Sternberg perfectly, and gave him a chance to distinguish himself as he sought to outdo everybody at how extensive and brutal atrocities could get He went to Mongolia, hoping to lead an army of east Asians against Moscow His ultimate objective was to re establish the rule of the tsar in Russia, impose a monarchy on China, and re create a Mongolian empire As contradictory and muddled as those goals were, Sternberg was apparently less concerned about his military objectives than he was with his penchant for genocidal warfare He eventually did conquer Mongolia in a bloody campaign against the Chinese Following his victory, the Baron turned the place into a giant execution ground.Of course, Sternberg, and the rest of the Whites with whom he was at least vaguely affiliated, never had a realistic chance of destroying the Bolsheviks After his rather insane ploy to march on Moscow, the Red Army eventually ousted Sternberg, liberated Mongolia, and then proceeded to commit atrocities on a colossal scale, as if trying to outdo Sternberg at his own work Sternberg was captured The Bolsheviks put him on trial for war crimes hypocritically enough When asked whether he often beat people, he replied, not enough Sternberg was executed immediately after the trial Sternberg had once consulted a soothsayer who told him he had 130 days to live Coincidentally, Sternberg was captured and executed exactly 130 days after he was told this The Red Army occupied Mongolia, which became the first Soviet satellite state In some cases, incredibly enough, Sternberg was still worshipped as a god in that area as late as the 1970s.Sternberg claimed to be a Buddhist he was also fanatically anti Semitic Somehow he managed to turn this into a philosophy that made some people think he was a god His ideology was a curious, vaguely defined mix of racial supremacy, occult mysticism, and absolute megalomania In Mongolia, Sternberg wrote, I tried to form the Order of Military Buddhists for an uncompromising fight against the depravity of revolution The order permitted unlimited vodka and drugs, but total renunciation of women, a restriction that was ignored One error did puzzle me Palmer mentions the White warlord Kolchak as having formed a government in 1917 it was actually 1918 He also writes that Wrangel evacuated the Crimea in November 1919 it was actually 1920 Palmer also writes on page 80 that The Winter Palace, symbolic heart of government, was seized by a tiny band of revolutionaries, led by Lenin, freshly returned from German exile This is inaccurate Lenin had been in Zurich, Switzerland at first, and then had to cross German lines to get to Russia The Germans then let Lenin s band travel via Frankfurt, Berlin, and Stockholm to Petrograd.The book itself is a bit dry, even though the story is an unbelievable tale of epic proportions, and a revealing look into a seemingly totally deranged time period Sternberg is the kind of man that makes communism look good.

  6. says:

    I first read about Ungern Sternberg in Peter Hopkirk s account of the Russian Civil War in Central Asia Setting the East Ablaze , and I couldn t imagine why the Baron s story hadn t been filmed It has everything armoured trains, ragtag armies moving across the steppe like something out of Road Warrior , Mongol horsemen, Japanese mercenaries, eerie shamanic rituals, and a central figure whose madness and cruelty arewell, breathtaking Ungern Sternberg s story is a kind of dark, dark comedy in the Grand Guignol mode, a surreal sideshow to the already brutal and horrific Russian Civil War in the East I ll fault James Palmer for a few things continually using Nikolas II for the last tsar instead of the standard Nicholas or the Russian Nikolai , and for long, rambling disquisitions on why he dislikes Buddhism But the story itself is a horror comedy that needs a major film, and The Bloody White Baron is very much worth readingif you have a taste for surrealist nightmare.

  7. says:

    I read this before, but its such a real life Heart of Darkness Apocaypse Now in the Russian Civil War that I had to read it again Still amazing A meditation on all that far right occultist merger stuff that today exists largely in center left homeopathic whole foods shopper form The Baron was a genuine madman with power, and thus its s true case study in when the insane may do as they please.

  8. says:

    The Bloody White Baron is one of those fascinating short books about a nasty little corner of the world during a nasty time The nasty little corner of the world is Mongolia the nasty time is the Russian Civil War The eponymous Baron is Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern Sternberg, of Estonian German extraction, who was called the last khan of Mongolia and waged a brutal, doomed minor campaign against the Chinese and the Bolsheviks in the early 1920s Naturally, he came to a bad end.The backdrop to all this is the Russian Civil War in eastern Siberia Figures such as Alexander Kolchak and Grigory Semenov pop up as background players to Ungern s little campaign Interestingly, the tenuous relationships of such men with Ungern highlight one of the White Russians biggest failures the inability to unite among themselves Palmer is an excellent writer, and he makes all these characters come alive.The book covers mostly 1920 and 1921 Ungern wanted to put Michael, the brother of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, on the throne, which would have been difficult, considering the Bolsheviks had murdered him three years before But as far as Ungern was concerned, Monarchy was the only right way to order the people, and they ought to long for it If they didn t, they had been corrupted and would have to be punished So Ungern went back and forth over Mongolia, raising and losing a small polyglot army, and using it in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to drive out both the Chinese and the Bolsheviks who both saw Mongolia as a place to extend their power.One of the most interesting takeaways from the book is the author s clear eyed treatment of Buddhism Palmer talks a lot about Mongolian Buddhism, which is essentially the same as Tibetan Buddhism He talks about it in general, and but also about how it affected Ungern s thinking, and about how it played into, and in many ways drove, the actions of many of those interacting with Ungern Palmer, who has traveled extensively in Mongolia and speaks the language, doesn t sugarcoat the religion Most religions don t get the sugarcoating treatment nowadays, but usually Buddhism does Vacuous Hollywood stars purport to be Buddhist and tell us that Buddhism is a wonderful way of spirituality, lacking in silly things like doctrines, gods and required behaviors This is reinforced by various dubious writings For example, the pseudo scholarly book by Stephen Prothero, God Is Not One, discussing the world s religions, gives much the same treatment to Buddhism as movie stars do when it s not busy blaming all the world s problems on Christianity and offering cut rate Muslim apologetics Palmer, merely in the service of providing color and background to his story, gives a much accurate portrayal of Buddhism.So, Palmer notes that Many writers ignorant of Asian history particularly, for some reason, anti religious science writers also claim that Buddhism lacked the history of atrocities and intolerance that marked Western religion, despite, for instance, the many Buddhist inspired messianic revolts in China, or the deep complicity of Zen Buddhism in Japanese militarism during the Second World War And, Buddhists are often portrayed in the West as not believing in a God or gods, and most Western Buddhists don t The vast majority of Buddhists worldwide, however, are enthusiastic believers in all manners of gods and spirits The reality is that much Buddhism is a spirit soaked religion, full of belief in magic and demons, frequently extremely violent and intolerant, with nothing of the Golden Rule or any other Christian inspired belief that is central to the West s shared morality Palmer notes, though, that Chinese Buddhism is focused on mercy and release from the wheel of suffering than Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism, thus conforming somewhat to Western stereotype Buddhist temples contain lurid images of the gods severed heads and flayed skins, desecrated corpses blossoming into gardens of blood And many important Buddhist figures, including incarnations of various Dalai Lamas and other leading lamas, such as the Bogd Khan aka the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, the third most important lama in Tibetan Buddhism and a major player in Ungern s activities , were drunken sexual perverts desperate for power and material goods.Palmer doesn t note these real Buddhist characteristics just to add flavor, though His point is that a culture soaked in this type of violence, with a belief in prophecies, demons and spirits, was not only willing but ecstatic to take as a White God, the God of War, a failed Russian army officer who promised to restore the Mongolian nation to the glory of Genghis Khan, and also to accept his horrendous brutality without comment or complaint Ungern was like a Buddhist real life Hieronymus Bosch Ungern s ideas of punishment come straight from the Buddhist hells, of which there are a great variety, with numerous punishments for each sin All of Ungern s favorite tortures were prominent in the hell scrolls of the Mongolian monasteries exposure on the ice, burning alive, rending by wild beasts Palmer also has funny statements in this context, like Looking for a specific god of war in the eclectic Mongolian pantheon is like looking for a virgin martyr among Catholic saints Ungern himself was a complex religious figure Theoretically he was Lutheran But he had strong Russian Orthodox leanings, too, doubtless because of the link between Russian monarchism and Orthodoxy He liked theosophy perhaps he would have gotten along well with noted Democratic icon and crypto Communist, Henry Wallace, who was forced out in favor of Harry Truman as Vice President for FDR s last term, not because he was basically a Communist, but because he was humiliatingly taken in by a theosophist con man And, what Ungern really wanted from religion was to confirm his messianic view of himself Really, Ungern was a mostly tolerant syncretist he didn t care what religion you followed, as long as you shared his messianic views, and of course, he being Russian Jews were not allowed He wasn t racist, either he thought Asians superior to whites though, of course, he thought any noble person superior to peasants.My only complaint about the book is that there are literally no pictures This must be for money copyright reasons Palmer frequently describes pictures in details, presumably to make up for the lack so the pictures exist But that just calls attention to the lack of pictures, and to coin a phrase, a picture is worth a thousand words This really reduces the impact of the book just a few pictures would have been invaluable Nonetheless, Palmer s writing mostly makes up for the lack, and the book is well worth reading.

  9. says:

    Not quite what I expected I thought this would be a biography of the Russian aristocrat Baron Ungern Sternberg who would be the savior of Mongolia, the spiritual and military reincarnation of Genghis Khan Maybe combined with a history of Mongolia in the post Russian revolution period It was a little of both of these, but much of a military history of the White anti communist Russians and Baron Ungern s various battles, which just isn t that interesting The Baron seems to have been quite disturbed delusions of becoming the next Khan, saving Mongolia and defeating the Communists He was also terrifically anti Semitic and a bloody sadist It seems there could be a great story here, but the writer isn t up to telling a coherent story The battles are confusingly told and the Baron doesn t really become a full blooded character for some reason Lots of editorializing on the author s part, which isn t bad in general, but in a history I expect objectivity, otherwise the whole book is thrown into doubt I couldn t recommend this, but the story would make a good movie And, this publisher commits a cardinal sign The book is full of misspelled words, typos and format errors I really think this is inexcusable and automatically loses one star, regardless of how good a book might otherwise be.

  10. says:

    A remarkable read about one of history s most bizarre characters a Russian nobleman from Estonia with a Jewish name who was apparently a Buddhist religious fanatic, seen as a reincarnation of Genghis Khan and, most startlingly, bulletproof The author, who apparently hangs out pretty close to where this story unfolded, pulls together a tremendous number of sources written in different languages and with different levels of attention to accuracy, and puts it all in one place for you Curiously, he didn t give that much attention to the main character s cruelties or the other odd features of his personality he focuses of the legends that spun off from the reality Written in a light, ironic tone that continues to the last page of endnotes, which are worth reading not quite as funny as Will Cuppy s, but close Large bibliography in the back makes me want to read everything listed in it.

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