"[An] impressive debut....Wonderful travel history....With this impassioned volume [Bullough] has struck a blow for the glory of the Caucasus and helped to give voice to the voiceless."
“Bullough should be congratulated on his brave and tireless investigations into an under-reported region of the world.”
"The Caucasus is a frontier land of high, jagged snow peaks, ruined flint fortresses and pine forests that have hidden centuries of bare-rock rebellion by warrior nations. Waves of uprising, conquest, deportation, exile and resettlement have pitted the peoples of the north Caucasus against Russia for hundreds of years and continue to do so still. Oliver Bullough’s book is a painstaking, sensitively reported effort to knit together their lost history."
“Let Our Fame Be Great is a treat. It is finely bound, with excellent maps, and Bullough draws you irresistibly into his narrative, fusing reportage, history and travelogue in colourful, absorbing prose..... He tells a brilliant story, interweaving personal reportage with impressive reading, both in the Caucasus and its far-flung diaspora.”
Kirkus (Starred Review)
“A gripping, often sanguinary account of the history, culture and current status of the people for whom the Caucasus has been home, battleground and slaughterhouse… this is a fearless examination of a brutal place… A remarkably illuminating window into a world of neglected people and deleted history.”
The Economist (UK)
“Oliver Bullough’s first book marks him out as a distinguished researcher, observer and narrator....His research is formidable.”
Financial Times (London)
“A courageous young journalist illuminates one of the world’s most ethnically and culturally diverse regions. His travels and historical back-stories show that contemporary brutality in Chechnya is nothing new, and reminds us of the fate of whole nations such as the Circassians, scattered to the winds by Russian imperialism.”
The New Republic
“[I]mpressively researched and devastating… Bullough’s book combines intimate personal accounts, formidable historical research, and first-hand observations collected during years of reporting in the region into a heart-scraping testimony of Russia’s systematic and deliberate brutality in the North Caucasus—and the cruel acts of terror that it continues to provoke.”
Christian Science Monitor
“[C]ompelling. . . . As Bullough dashes and darts us through the amazing and forgotten episodes of the region, we see that this is a book of discoveries… cultural history filtered through the eyes and heart of a bright and earnest young writer… fresh and vital, admiring and frustrated.”
The Sunday Times (London) Books of the Year
“Oliver Bullough…clearly put his heart and soul into his grand, furious Let Our Fame Be Great.”
"How much do you want or need to understand about a far-off place of which we know little? More than you would think, to judge by the enthusiasm of Oliver Bullough, who brings us exciting news, presented as short, gripping stories that tell of the terrible things that happen to people caught up in constant warfare, who have long struggled for survival and suffered not only diaspora but enforced deportation. The history of their resistance and resilience has been largely unknown for two centuries. Now their stories are sung by a champion and will resound beyond their boundaries."
Norman Stone, Director of the Center for Russian Studies at Bilkent University, and author of The Atlantic and Its Enemies and World War One
“This wonderful, moving book flashes backwards and forwards over a terrain almost impossible to survey, and manages the feat.”
Orlando Figes, author of The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia and A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924
“Lively and impassioned… a tragically neglected corner of our world.”
An Institute for War and Peace Reporting journalist debuts with a gripping, often sanguinary account of the history, culture and current status of the people for whom the Caucasus has been home, battleground and slaughterhouse. Several times, Bullough confesses fear or anxiety in this harrowing history of a region he has come to know well and traverse many times, often in the company of people whose language he only partially knows, if at all. Nonetheless, this is a fearless examination of a brutal place, in which the Russians come off particularly poorly. Beginning more than two centuries ago, the Russians-then the Soviets, now the Russians once again-employed every weapon in the arsenal of human cruelty, including murder, massacre, relocation and ethnic cleansing, to subdue people who, according to the author, mostly desired to be left alone. Bullough begins with people less-known in the West-the Circassians-and, deftly maneuvering through history, legend and geopolitics, tells the story of their defeats and diaspora (many are now in Jordan). The author takes us to little-known sites of long-forgotten atrocities, places unknown now even to the local residents, and reminds us continually how victors write history books, erect memorials and control cultural memory. The author then turns to groups of mountain Turks-the Balkars and the Karachais-whose very existence the Soviets denied well into the 1940s. Finally, Bullough explores the complicated and tragic stories of the Chechens, a more familiar name. They, too, suffered unspeakably at the hands of those who wanted their land. The author notes that, in desperation, the Chechens have committed some unspeakably stupid and destructive acts of their own. In this final section, Bullough tells individual stories of people separated from land and loved ones. A remarkably illuminating window into a world of neglected people and deleted history.