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When first published in 1932, this memoir was an immediate classic, both as a unique eyewitness account of Revolutionary Russia and as one man’s story of struggle, and tragedy set against the background of great events.
Aged 25, Lockhart became the British Vice-Consul to Moscow in 1912. With revolution in the air, it was dangerous, decadent posting. The 'Boy Ambassador' became an eyewitness to pivotal events and in 1918 was charged with establishing a diplomatic understanding with the Bolsheviks, to ensure that Russia remained in the war against Germany. It was a precarious mission: Whitehall could not be seen support revolutionaries; Lockhart grew wary of his masters’ secret machinations; while Lenin and Trotsky's cordial relations with the British agent never quite dispelled their mistrust of the nation he represented.
When Lockhart met Moura Budberg, who became the great love of his life, he was in an increasingly vulnerable position. In September 1918 he would be falsely accused of a counter-revolutionary plot to overthrow the Bolsheviks, and sent to the Loubianka. His account even inspired a Hollywood movie. From his evocative descriptions of revolutionary Moscow, where the champagne flowed as the bourgeoisie trembled, to his audiences with Trotsky and his brushes with death, this is a vivid, unique memoir.
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