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The Sabres of Paradise

Conquest and Vengeance in the Caucasus

By Lesley Blanch
Published by Taurus Parke
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Book Description

The Caucasus - a region of supreme natural beauty and fiercely proud warriors - has throughout history been characterised by violence and turmoil. During the Great Caucasus War of 1834-1859, the warring mountain tribes of Daghestan and Chechnya united under the charismatic leadership of the Muslim chieftain Imam Shamyl, the ‘Lion of Daghestan’. For twenty-five years this disparate band of guerrillas held at bay the mighty armies of invading Russia - strengthened only by the desire for an independent Caucasus and their religious faith. Their ferocious battles have inspired generations of fighters and their memory continues to haunt the Russian psyche. Lesley Blanch vividly recounts the epic story of their heroic and bloody struggle and the life of a man still legendary in the Caucasus. This is an extraordinary account, particularly relevant in light of the continuing conflict in Chechnya today.

Lesley Blanch was interviewed in Cornucopia 37 by Philip Mansel. She died in May 2007

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