QUARTA DI COPERTINA
This book tells the extraordinary story of Maria Botchkareva "Yashka", a peasant girl grown up in Siberia, who at the outbreak of First World War asked and obtained to enlist in the Russian army: not to be one of the many Red Cross nurses, but to be a soldier and fight.
Yashka fought and distinguished herself at the forefront, so that after the revolution of March 1917 the provisional government of Kerensky allowed her to organize a women combat unit that was talked about by the press around the whole world, and that was submitted to massacre on the battlefield of the last Russian offensive.
After the dismissal of the remains of her Womens Battalion of Death and the dissolution of the whole Russian army, Yashka managed to reach the West with the utopia of gathering funds to restore a people's army and to continue the war against Germany. In the United States, in 1918, her story was collected and published by a journalist of Russian origin, Isaac Don Levine.
It is controversial whether and how the figure of Yashka belongs to the women emancipation movement, as at the time was considered by the same Emmeline Pankhurst, who was a supporter and a friend of Yashka. Indeed Yashka acted instinctively following an unconditional and non-negotiable loyalty to her country, because in this loyalty she found at the same time self-respect and redemption by the deprivations of her experience.
By telling widely not only the facts, but also her own feelings and motivations, Yashka left us a testimony that rises far above the usual memoirs of war.
The story of Isaac Don Levine, fallen into oblivion for a long time, is now available again in this ebook, with an afterword by Alberto Palazzi that focuses on the definition of herself that Yashka was looking for in commitment and sacrifice for her country.
INDICE DEL LIBRO
Introduction by Isaac Don Levine (1918)
Part One – Youth
I – MY CHILDHOOD OF TOIL
II – MARRIED AT FIFTEEN
III – A LITTLE HAPPINESS
IV – SNARED BY A LIBERTINE GOVERNOR
V – ESCAPE FROM EXILE AND YASHA
Part Two – War
VI – I ENLIST BY THE GRACE OF THE TSAR
VII – INTRODUCED TO NO MAN’S LAND
VIII – WOUNDED AND PARALYZED
IX – EIGHT HOURS IN GERMAN HANDS
Part Three – Revolution
X – THE REVOLUTION AT THE FRONT
XI – I ORGANIZE THE BATTALION OF DEATH
XII – MY FIGHT AGAINST COMMITTEE RULE
XIII – THE BATTALION AT THE FRONT
XIV – AN ERRAND FROM KERENSKY TO KORNILOV
XV – THE ARMY BECOMES A SAVAGE MOB
Part Four – Terror
XVI – BOLSHEVISM ON TOP
XVII – FACING LENINE AND TROTZKY
XVIII – CAUGHT IN A BOLSHEVIK DEATH-TRAP
XIX – SAVED BY A MIRACLE
XX – BEARING A MESSAGE FROM MY PEOPLE
Afterword by Alberto Palazzi (2013). Yashka and her self-definition in war
The text of Isaac Don Levine
Yashka and self-definition in loyalty to Russia