Monday, January 09, 2017
This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
After surviving domestic abuse and Siberian exile, Maria Bochkareva resolved to fight for the Motherland in World War I and, against all odds, succeeded. Her stories from the front are harrowing and gritty. But they are only the beginning. For when the military falls apart in the wake of the February Revolution, Bochkareva creates an all-women’s battalion as a way of shaming Russia’s men back into defending the country from German aggression.
As a first-hand account of Russian life a century ago, this is a crucial autobiography. That it also offers a portrait of a bold and brave woman striving for equality and respect by flying in the face of convention and tradition makes it invaluable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maria Bochkareva was born a poor peasant and survived domestic abuse, rape, and attempted murder before joining the Russian Imperial Army, and fighting in the First World War, where she was twice wounded. After the February 1917 revolution, she was tasked with establishing the First Women's Battalion of Death, eventually leading 300 trained women soldiers into battle on the Eastern Front. She survived the Civil War, skirted Red/White enemy lines, was captured, sentenced to death, somehow survived, then traveled to the US and UK to rally support for White forces.