Anthony Kröner’s just-published biography of the last commander of the anti-Bolshevik forces of southern Russia, General Peter Wrangel (Petr NikolaevichVrangel’), entitled The White Knight of the Black Sea, is a carefully researched and well-written account of the life of one of the most fascinating military leaders of twentieth-century Russia. Although Wrangel’s command of the White Army lasted less than a year, ending with the evacuation of the Crimea in November 1920, his name and his legacy are perhaps the best known of all the civil war leaders who fought the Bolsheviks. This is due in part to his colorful personality and dashing good looks but also to his tenacity and determination in the face of overwhelming odds, his political acumen (although it came too late to save the situation), his exceptional organizational ability, and the strong personality that allowed him to command the respect and love of both subordinates and the many others who collaborated with him in his struggle against the Bolsheviks. As the publisher states, this biography is “the first comprehensive and impartial study of Wrangel’s life to appear in English.” With its numerous photographs and maps, it makes for interesting and enlightening reading.
Kröner conducted research in numerous repositories around the world, but the bulk of his research was done at the Hoover Institution Archives, which holds the Vrangel’ collection (http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0m3n97fc), in addition to the Vrangel’ family papers (http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt358033g3) and Mariia Vrangel’s collection (Baroness Mariia Vrangel’ was General Petr Vrangel’s mother: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf8v19n9qz). The author’s acknowledgment conveys his kind and generous praise to the Hoover Archives and its staff.
For more information on this book, please see the publisher’s website: www.leuxenhoff.com/the-white-knight-of-the-black-sea.php.