MANNERHEIM: PRESIDENT, SOLDIER, SPY
by JONATHAN CLEMENTS
Gustaf Mannerheim was one of the greatest figures of the twentieth century. As a young Finnish officer in Russian service he witnessed the coronation of the last Tsar and was both reprimanded for his foolishness and decorated for his 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. Crossing China on horseback, he stopped en route to teach the 13th Dalai Lama how to shoot a pistol and spied on the Japanese navy.
Having escaped the Bolsheviks by the skin of his teeth in 1917, he led the anti-Russian forces in the local revolt and civil war and later, during Finland’s darkest hour, he led the defense of his country against the impossible odds of the Winter War.
In this, the first major English language biography of Mannerheim for a decade, Jonathan Clements brings new material to light on Mannerheim’s time in Manchuria, China and Japan. The result is a fascinating appraisal of an adventurer and explorer who would go on to forge a new nation.
Jonathan Clements is the author of many books on East Asian history, a history of the Vikings and a guide to the Silk Road. 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.
Publication Date: October 2009
PB (also available in HB)
‘[Jonathan Clements] has combined the 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.’
‘He describes [Mannerheim’s] journey as if he had been there.’
— The Times Literary Supplement