Setting the East ablaze: Lenin’s dream of an empire in Asia

Peter Hopkirk
19 Reviews
Kodansha Globe, 1995 – 272 pages

A DANGEROUS NEW TWIST IN THE GREAT GAME In this gripping narrative Peter Hopkirk tells how Lenin and his revolutionary comrades tried, in the period between the two world wars, to set the East ablaze with their heady new gospel of Marxism. Their dream was to "liberate" the whole of Asia, and their starting point was British India, the richest of all imperial possessions. The bloody struggle that ensued, the full story of which has never been told, marked a dramatic new twist in the Great Game. Among the players were British Indian intelligence officers and the armed revolutionaries of the Communist International. There were also Muslim visionaries and Chinese warlords-as well as a White Russian baron who roasted his Bolshevik captives alive. Pieced together from secret archives, intelligence reports, and the long-forgotten memoirs of the players involved, here is an extraordinary tale of intrigue and treachery. Like Hopkirk’s bestselling The Great Game, its theme is ominously topical in view of the violent events that still grip this turbulent region-from the Caucasus to Afghanistan-where the Great Game never really ended.

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