In this lively and witty autobiography, Essad Bey, a.k.a. Lev Nussimbaum, tells us the story of his childhood in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and of his flight from the Russian Revolution in 1917, which brought him first straight through the Caucasus, then to Istanbul - where this book concludes - and finally to Berlin.
When Essad Bey speaks of the people of the Caucasus and their customs so strange to us, a sort of anthropological cabinet of curiosities unfolds before our eyes, and we cannot help but be astonished. All the while, through his affectionate and sometimes openly ironic words, even the excesses of the Revolution sound like children's pranks and his hair-raising escape like an adventure novel.
"Blood and Oil in the Orient" is an informative and entertaining book; in the 1930s, it was a bestseller in the U.S. and Germany.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is so flawed starting from the first chapter where the author Essad Bey (Lev Nussimbaum) claims that his father met his mother while walking past a prison in Baku and married her the same day. The truth is that Lev's parents were living in Georgia and married in the Synagogue there in 1904. That's just the beginning of Essad Bey's fantasies. He's a great story teller. If you're looking for a book where you can't tell what is truth and what is reality, be sure to read Essad Bey's books about the Caucasus, Stalin, Nicolas II, Reza Shah, Lenin, Mohammed. They all received scorching critiques in their day from New York Times and other famous review journals. Historians in Azerbaijan and Georgia consider Blood and Oil in the Orient to be so flawed and so unreliable that it cannot even be categorized as "autobiography". Who needs another such book in an environment when we have enough lies to fill our everyday lives. Why waste your money! Why waste your time!